Willie L. LaGrone “Toby” was an amazing man, who helped to make the memories of yesterday which gave us the strength and courage to face the challenges of today. He truly lived a fearless life enriched with tremendous love, dedication and hard work for the sake and benefit of his family. He was a man with a huge heart and a generous spirit who was greatly admired for being a loving husband, devoted father, grandpa “papa”, uncle and loyal friend. On August 8th, 2020 Willie L. LaGrone was welcomed into heaven by his wife, Lona E. LaGrone; and three children, Gwen, Darryl and George.
Willie L. LaGrone was born July 12th, 1925 in Monroe County Mississippi to the late Millie LaGrone Pack and the late Arthur Marshall Sr. However, along with his mother, he was raised by his loving stepfather the late Burdine Pack. Willie was a graduate of Okalona high school as well as Okalona Jr College. On January 12th, 1945, he displayed his understanding of sacrifice by enlisting in the United States Navy. Years later in Detroit Michigan, Willie met and married Lona E. George. A few years afterwards they moved to Las Vegas Nevada, then to Seattle Washington. In 1969 the family settled in Portland Oregon where he often worked two jobs to provide for his family. One job as a Heavy Equipment Operator Engineer working on many highways and construction sites including Mount St Helens when it erupted in 1980. The other as a Sandblaster at Swan Island Shipyard. Each job alone would have been difficult for the average man, but he did both without complaint and eventually retired from both in 1996.
Lona was the glue that held the family together, but Willie was definitely the rock and he built a strong and loving foundation. It took great courage and confidence to move his family across the country to settle in Portland Oregon, where he worked extremely hard as a provider. Willie always said he worked one job to feed his family and the other to keep them happy. In addition to tremendous work ethic, he was an excellent cook and baker as well. Lona often referred to him as a jack of all trades. Willie was very talented; there wasn’t anything he could not do. He was a hero, an overcomer and left an honorable legacy.
Willie is proceeded in death by his mother, Millie LaGrone Pack; father, Arthur Marshall Sr.; Stepfather, Burdine Pack; wife, Lona E. LaGrone; daughter, Gwen; sons, Darryl and George;
grandchildren, Amber, Alleny II and Regiene; brothers, LaGrone “Sonny“ Pack, Donald Pack and Arthur Marshall Jr.; sisters, Irma Marshall Estes, Elma Marshall Beeks and Henrene Marshall Jamison; brother-in-law, Leamon George; sisters-in-law, Blanche George and Wilma George.
Willie is survived by his sister Carlene Brown; children LeAnnis, Alleny, Valorie, Reginald, Randel, Ronald, Angela and Leanice; numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren, great-great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins and a host of friends.
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