Willis James Tate, well known as "Hop" passed from this life on Friday, October 23, 2020, at Baptist Health Medical Center in Little Rock, Arkansas. The last farewell will be shared with family and friends at 11: a.m. on Friday, October 30 2020 at St. Clair Burtsell Cemetery in Okolona, Arkansas. Public visitation will be from 12 noon until 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 29, 2020 at Williams Funeral Home.
Willis James Tate was born August 18, 1948 in Oakland, California. He was the son of Samuel and Ray Evelyn Gordon Tate.
Willis grew up in the Gum Springs Community. He was baptized at an early age and united with St. Ruth Baptist Church. He attended Peake High School and later Hot Springs Rehabilitation Center where he received certification in environmental services. He worked as a construction laborer for many years.
Hop was unique in his own way. He enjoyed being big brother to his sisters, Sylvia and Gloria; and uncle to his nephews. He created a special bond with his aunt, Lauretta who assisted him in many ways. He was a die-hard Cowboys fan, he enjoyed fishing and watching westerns (his shoot ‘em ups).
Hop moved to Courtyards Gardens and won the hearts of the administration, staff and residents. He did things his way and at most times his way was the only way.
In his spare time, he enjoyed the company of his family and close friends. He loved to entertain, be entertained and particularly loved the competition associated with dominoes, cards, playing bingo and the hilarious bragging rights stemming from his frequent wins. He enjoyed dancing, music and hats.
Above all, Hop will be remembered for his unwavering commitment to family and friendship.
Willis James Tate, well known as "Hop" passed from this life on Friday, October 23, 2020, at Baptist Health Medical Center in Little Rock, Arkansas. Besides his natural parents he was preceded in death by his nephew, Jay Davis.
He leaves to cherish his memory two sisters, Sylvia (Roosevelt) Davis of Gum Springs and Gloria (Glen) Hill of Gum Springs; his nephews, Roosevelt “Chucky” (Shelley) of Los Angeles, CA, Glenn L. (Tiffany) Hill of Gum Springs, Drew J. (Tanisha) Hill of Bridgeton, MO and Samyon Hill of Dallas, TX; his great-nieces and nephews, Jayden Davis, Madison Hill, Anthony Hill and Jailynn Hill; aunts, Laurette Tate, Essie Jackson, Gertha Duncan, Annie M. Tate, Dorothy Butler, Elverna Tate, Hazel Bryant, and Carolyn Owens; uncles, Cleveland Gordon, Oliver (Shirley) Tate, Donald (Debra) Tate and Meldene (Brenda) Ivory. He also leaves a host of cousins, other relatives; a special friend, Anthony “Keity” Roberts, other friends, as well as, the administration and staff at Courtyard Gardens.
Honorary pallbearers Roosevelt “Chucky” Davis, Glenn J. Hill, Drew J. Hill, Samyon J. Hill and Jay Davis (posthumously), Jayden Davis, Madison Hill, Anthony Hill and Jailynn Hill.