She would have been 105 years old
Lillie Gertrude Hanks Willis
Born: December 29, 1897; Died July
She married my grandfather and namesake Randall Lee Willis (b.
Mar. 20, 1886; d. May 14, 1940) on January 11, 1914. She was
only 16. She called him "Ran." (He was named after his father's commanding
general in the Civil War, Gen. Randall Lee Gibson.) She was the
daughter of Arthur Allen Hanks and Mary Stark. Mary Stark
had traveled by covered wagon with her parents, John M. Stark and Marie
Deroussel, to Branch, Louisiana. Mary Stark often spoke of the
panthers screaming in the woods of Louisiana, she said they screamed "just like
a women." Arthur Allen Hanks married Mary Stark on Oct. 17, 1895.
They moved from Branch to near Lecompte, Louisiana when
Grandmother was 11. Their log home was located where IH 49 is today (right in
the middle), approximately 500' south of Highway 112, near Lecompte.
They owned a meat market. The Children of Mary Stark and Arthur
Allen Hanks were: my grandmother Lillie Gertrude Hanks (b. Dec. 29, 1897;
d. July 02, 1973), Ivy "Buddy" Lee Hanks (b. Nov. 18,
1898; d. Dec. 10, 1982), Callie Hanks, Mary Delia Hanks, Ivy
also had a twin brother who died at birth.
My Grandmother was a strong believer in Christ and was a staunch
Baptist. I remember her deep reverence for the Lord. I
also, remember walking into the church sanctuary with her one day, where
the pastor was teaching a Sunday school class. He looked up from his
notes and asked, Mrs. Willis "what does Jesus do with our sins," and
without hesitation she said "He throws them as far as the east is from the
west." She would often tell me "Randy, the only Bible
most people ever read is our lives." Although poor, by today's standards,
she would feed and clothed those in her neighborhood, only slightly financially
worst off than her. She was a "Proverbs 31 women." I loved her with all my
heart, and still do.
Enclosed are two love letters (cards) written to
her by my grandfather
and two photographs of her.