WD was born on September 19, 1937 in Vivian, Louisiana to Willis Dorman Sr. and Eulalie Magee. He graduated from Ruston Louisiana High School with the class of 1955. After high school, he joined the United States Marine Corps where he served for 3 years. He then attended and proudly graduated from Louisiana Tech University with a B.S. in Business Management in 1962. Throughout his college years and over the summers, WD worked as a roughneck. While at Louisiana Tech, he met Donna Staggs, and on June 3, 1962, they were married. They were partners in life for 58 years.
After they were married, the couple moved to Tyler, Texas where WD went to work for Woolf & Magee Drilling Corp., in accounting and bookkeeping. He was later promoted and became Secretary-Treasurer and part owner. During this time, WD served on the Board of Directors for the American Association of Oil Well Drilling Contractors. He went on to serve as the Chairman of the Arklatex Chapter of AAODC.
His interest in thoroughbred racehorses started with an investment in Em-Bay Stables in 1980. This sparked a passion for him and provided many fond memories and travel. Going to the Kentucky Derby and Breeders Cup were favorite destinations. He owned, trained, bought, and bred these horses for 18 years. He had his owner’s license in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Mexico, and New York. He then went on to train in Louisiana and Oklahoma. In his later years, WD worked as a principal partner with his beloved friend, Michael Smith, at the Renard Group Advertising Agency.
WD was an active member of the community for many years. He and Donna have been members of Green Acres Baptist Church since 1963. He was President of Tyler Jaycees in 1967 and served as State Chairman for Five Outstanding Young Texans. His love of sports fueled his involvement in the Tyler Chapter of the Southwest Football Officials Association where he officiated high school football games for 15 years in East Texas. He also served on the Smith County Grand Jury twice and was a precinct chairman for the Republican Party.
In his children’s younger years, his time at home was often spent outside throwing the ball with his son Mark, coaching his teams, or attending dance recitals in support of his daughter Jill. WD was an avid reader, and if the Texas Rangers were not on, you could often find him in his chair doing his daily crossword puzzle or learning about World History from one of the many books he read. WD is described by most everyone that knew him as a highly intelligent man and dedicated friend. He showed up for others and was valued by those that knew him.
WD is preceded in death by his parents. He is survived by his loving family including wife, Donna; daughter, Jill Magee, of Tyler; son, Mark Magee, of Tyler and Mark’s family: Jeremy and Moriah Smith and their sons Caleb and Andrew of Tyler; Timothy and Krista Ballard and their sons, Shepherd, Bear, and Arthur of Euless; brother, James Magee and wife Bethe of Tallahassee, Florida; and sister, Julia Hood.
There will be a graveside memorial at Rosehill Cemetery on Sunday, November 22, 2020 at 2pm. Out of an abundance of caution, the family requests that all in attendance wear masks. In lieu of flowers, please honor WD with a donation in his name to your favorite charity.