Cover photo for Willis F. Marti's Obituary
Willis F. Marti Profile Photo
1952 Willis 2024

Willis F. Marti

August 30, 1952 — April 21, 2024

Willis Freeman Marti, 71, of College Station, Texas, died of complications from a stroke and pneumonia on April 21st, 2024.

He was born in Lamar, Missouri in August of 1952, to Freeman Robert Marti and Bonita Justine Marti nee Fanning. He was named after his father and his maternal grandfather. They moved to the Oakcliff area of Dallas, Texas in the mid 1950’s. From a young age, he knew he was going to be a military man. He would line his toy soldiers up on his mom's kitchen tile again and again, sending them out on maneuvers. Willis attended Justin F. Kimball High School, where he was active in the JROTC. He created various computer projects and earned a place in the National Junior Honor Society. Due to his academic excellence, he was nominated to represent Dallas at the National Youth Conference on the Atom in 1969. He earned a nomination for the Rhodes Scholarship, and a partial scholarship to MIT and University of Texas. 

When he graduated from high school in May 1970, he was offered, and he accepted, a full appointment to West Point, United States Military Academy. He was nominated by US Representative for Texas James Collins. To no one's surprise he excelled in the computer club, tutored other cadets in math and science, enjoyed playing handball, and he participated in the Sunday School program. He was a founding member of the West Point chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. Always an overachiever, he even met his future wife before he graduated from the academy. He earned a National Science Foundation scholarship to Stanford for his Master of Science degree.. 

Willis met the love of his life, Patricia, thanks to a blind date, arranged by the Academy. In June 1973, cadets were taken to visit Fort Benning, Georgia, the home of the Infantry, for instruction and training. While there, the instructors decided to arrange a dance at the Officers Club, which had one very important logistical question. Since at the time West Point was not coed, who would their cadets escort around the dance floor? They took a somewhat novel approach in addressing this. They placed an ad in local newspapers, asking Do You Want to Date a West Point Cadet? A computer program decided her best match was Willis. It was love at first dance. Excited to start their new lives together, the two were married just over a year later, August 5, 1974 in El Paso, Texas. Married over 49 years, Willis always considered her his angel and superhero, though he joked he married her for her cooking. Willis and Pat couldn’t wait to start a family of their own, and their children, Chris, Rob, Keira, and Kate, meant the world to them. He often went out early Sunday mornings for breakfast with Kate and played games with all the children until the early hours. He treasured his friendship with his brother Robert, sharing many stories and shenanigans over the years. 

Willis was passionate about his career in the Army as an Air Defense Military Captain. For his service in South Korea, he was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal. Even when he retired from active service in 1984, he wouldn't leave completely. He was a valued member in the Reserves until he retired at 48 in 2000, he had earned the rank of Major. Willis maintained pride in his military service, as it shaped the leader and man within himself. Retired, his heart remained with his fellow servicemen. His civilian career began at Martin Marrietta, coordinating equipment recommendations and installations. In 1990, he accepted a position teaching computer engineering at Texas A&M University, moving his family from Gambrills, Maryland, to College Station, Texas. He adored teaching, he continued until his stroke in 2001. He then transitioned to Director of Information Security, a role he held until his retirement in 2017.

Everyone who knew Willis knew he had two vices: reading and games. A love for both activities which he passed on to his children, be it board games, computer games, miniature gaming; if it was a game, odds are he enjoyed it. Family get-togethers weren't complete without a game of cards or dominos. 

Though he loved playing dominoes at the table, Willis’ favorite role was that as a grandparent. He treasured his time with his grandkids, Trevor and Maddie, and loved being their Papa. He watched old westerns with Trev, and Maddie’s favorite memory is that she knew he was always super-duper happy to see them both. He always looked forward to Thanksgiving, to be able to have his children and grandchildren around the table.

Willis also had a soft spot for his furry friends, treating each and every one like the valuable family member they were. Bella, their beloved spaniel, was his princess.

Willis was always up for a new adventure and took advantage whenever he could. Their journeys included a cruise to Alaska, trips to Barcelona and Boston, and more. His memory will live on in the hearts of all those who loved him.

He was preceded in death by his mother and father, Freeman Robert Marti and Bonita Justine Marti née Fanning. 

 Willis is survived by his wife, Patrica Gaye Dubose Marti; children, Christopher David Marti, Robert Jesse Marti and wife Heather, Keira Elisabeth Marti and her partners Kimma Troup and Jack Weeks, Katherine Victoria Mock née Marti and husband Adam; grandchildren, Trevor Robert Marti and Madelei Yvonne Marti; brother, Robert Louis Marti and wife Sherry Lynn; niece, Victoria Nicole Beavers née Marti and son Jacob Nathaniel Beavers, and Jacob’s son Greyson Robert Beavers; and niece, Jessica Michelle Broome née Marti and her children, Briana Justine Marti, Michelle Rene Marti, and Mia Elizabeth Marti.

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Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

4:00 - 6:00 pm (Central time)

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Funeral Service

Thursday, April 25, 2024

2:00 - 3:00 pm (Central time)

St. Andrew's Episcopal Church

217 W 26th St, Bryan, TX 77803

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