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Obituary for Vern Wilbanks

Ponca City Now - May 6, 2018 8:58 am

Vern Ezra Willbanks

August 16, 1938 – May 5, 2018

Vern Ezra “Tarzan” Willbanks of Blackwell, Oklahoma, passed quietly to the Lord on Saturday afternoon, May 5, 2018, at his home surrounded by his family following a short illness at the age of 79 years.

Vern Ezra “Tarzan” Willbanks was born at home during a thunderstorm on August 16, 1938, on the family farm five miles east of Braman to William Leonard and Helen Josephine (Sindelar) Willbanks. He attended Dilworth School and Braman Public Schools where he graduated in 1956. He developed a work ethic early when he obtained his first job as a farm hand and learned to pump oil wells at the age of nine. Through this he developed a love of combines and the money to buy his first car – a Model-T pickup that he drove to the Dilworth Rural School. On June 10, 1956, he married Joyce Ann Rouse, his high school sweetheart, and they enjoyed 62 years of marriage side by side. They established their first home in Braman before moving to their current home in Blackwell where they’ve lived for fifty years. Following their marriage, Tarzan began working for Weaver Well Service and farmed. He later worked for Dave Morgan Oil Company. After moving to Blackwell in 1966, he began working for Kay County District #3. He worked as an equipment operator before retiring as a foreman. He ran and was elected as Kay County Commissioner where he proudly served for twelve years. After his official retirement as commissioner, he returned to working harvests and running combines – his favorite piece of equipment. Vern loved his grandchildren and providing them with an endless supply of riding toys. He also enjoyed his tools and tinkering in his shop. He loved his lawnmower and traveling to Branson. Other hobbies included riding horses and mules, as well as coon hunting. He loved to go to auctions and finding a bargain. He was a member of the First United Methodist Church in Blackwell.

He is survived by his wife, Joyce Willbanks of Blackwell; three sons, Terryl Willbanks and his wife Debbie of Blackwell, Tony Willbanks and wife Nancy of Kingfisher, and Troy Willbanks of Blackwell; a daughter, Dr. Carol Anderson and husband Jon of Norman; ten grandchildren, Erin Anderson Dulle of Moore, Kylie Anderson of Chicago, Illinois, Megan Willbanks Childers of Blackwell, Tia Willbanks Santos of Blackwell, Brittany Willbanks Jones of Ponca City, Garrett Willbanks, Beverly Willbanks Bain, Felicia Willbanks Weber and Ciara Goodson Davis all of Kingfisher, and Rhiannon Goodson Staiger of Broken Arrow; seventeen great grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents; and a sister, Helen Kaiser Smith.

Services are scheduled for 1:30 p.m., Thursday, May 10th in the First United Methodist Church in Blackwell with Rev. Cap McIlnay officiating. Burial will follow in the Braman Cemetery.

Casketbearers will be Alan Juhl, Jim Sindelar, R. C. Bechtel, Kenny Kivett, Gerald DeWitt and Lennie DeBoard. The grandsons will serve as honorary casketbearers.

Memorials have been established in his honor with the First United Methodist Church or Hospice of North Central Oklahoma in c/o Roberts and Son Funeral Home, 120 W. Padon, Blackwell, Oklahoma 74631.