Danette "Dani" Huey Willard
August 23, 1960 – September 29, 2021
Danette (Dani) Marie Huey Willard, finally found peace and eternal joy in Heaven on Wednesday, September 29, 2021 at 7:50 AM, passing away at Seton Medical Center in Austin, Texas.
Born in Louisville, Kentucky on August 23, 1960, to Lester and Betty Jean Huey, she was the eldest of what would become a family of four. Dani’s family moved extensively while she was growing up, and these childhood homes were remembered through stories. She spoke of family trips to the beach with sticky car rides home in Houston, picking after-school snacks from the avocado tree in the backyard in Los Angeles, and playing with cousins from across the street in Jeffersonville, IN.
Dani would go on to graduate from Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville, TN, majoring English. While working at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center in Nashville she met the love of her life, Joseph Michael Willard. Two years later, they were married, on April 12, 1986, at Holy Name Church in Nashville, TN.
In a small, white house with a red door in Knoxville, TN, their family started with the birth of their son Andrew, followed by their first daughter, Kelsey. After moving to Americus, GA in 1994, the family grew with the birth of their third child, Erin. While there Dani worked as editor of Habitat for Humanity International’s Affiliate Update newsletter. In Americus, they made lifelong friends with whom they danced, sang, and feasted on warm summer nights in the backyard. During this time, Dani traveled to Portugal as part of a Habitat Global Village trip. This being her first international trip, it ignited a love of travel and cultures. In 2004, the family moved to Austin, Texas. There they welcomed the birth of their fourth child, Lauren.
Dani filled her family's lives with international travel, laughs, great food and stories. Over her life she would coordinate family trips to 10 countries across 4 continents. While at home she spent time gardening, filling the yard with native wildflowers and tending to her vegetable garden. She was passionate about travel, cooking, her children’s education, and being eco-friendly long before it was cool. Our family dinners will feel her loss.
She is survived by her husband, all her children, and her sister Lynn. She will be welcomed home by her parents, brother, Jeff, sister, Timi and her father-in-law George Willard.
Her memorial mass will be Saturday October 23, 2021, at St. Austin Catholic Church at 11:00 in the morning, in Austin. There will be a rosary prior to the mass at 10:30 am. The church parking garage is located at 1900 San Antonio St Austin, TX 78705. The garage entrance is on San Antonio St. "In this time of pandemic when travel and gathering pose serious risks, we invite you to be with us by tuning in to the livestream of the service on the website in the Mass Broadcast window. Here is a link to that portal: https://staustin.org/mass."
Danette "Dani" Huey Willard
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October 25, 2021
I just today received the sad news about Dani’s death. I can’t believe it’s true! Dani and I were friends and roommates in Nashville. We Worked together at TPAC for a few years...
Michael I am so bereft about this news!
You and the family are in my prayers.
October 25, 2021
I was a neighbor of the Willards for most of the past 10 years on Apache Creek Cove. The Willards were the first to greet me with a warm welcome on the day I moved in. Dani was always cheerful, kind and full of energy. She loved her family so much and raised (along with Michael) very thoughtful and intelligent children. We had many neighborhood parties and events. Her hospitality brought us together and connected us. I will always remember her with the warmest thoughts and memories. Sending love and prayers to the entire family.
Julie Graham (Ward)
October 21, 2021
Our hearts break for your loss, Michael and family. We are joyous to know Dani is in the Lords presence and will forever watch over her loved ones.
October 19, 2021
Prayers to Michael and family: Dani was a beautiful person. She had a loving, kind spirit. I remember our first meet - it was as if we had known each other all of our lives - that's the kind of person she was. Her actions showed me nothing but LOVE! I will always remember our fun times sitting on the porch and drinking tea together. Her beautiful smile would always give me comfort that everything was going to be alright! Rest Easy Dani!
October 12, 2021
So sorry for your all's loss. I had no idea she was originally from Louisville! I remember back in Nashville both of our families going to see the Preds play, and I think we played laser tag afterwards--though perhaps those were two separate trips. It was fun times, either way. It was obvious how much she loved her family. I'm sure you know how lucky you were to have her in your lives, and she was lucky to have all of you as well. You guys are in my thoughts daily.
October 10, 2021
Dear Mike and family,
So saddened to learn of your loss, but know that Dani is in a better place with the Lord. We stand in admiration of all of you for the care, concern and love you gave her during a long and challenging period of illness. We have fond memories of our trip to Austin some years ago now, when we were able to meet you for dinner and learn about your work there for Habitat. May God's grace be with each of you, give you strength and comfort in the days ahead.
Love, Jim and Janie Hughes, Monterey, Virginia
Kim Miknis Broughton
October 9, 2021
My dear Michael and kids. Don and I lived two doors down from you in Hidden Lakes, and shared Mass at St. Mary's in Americus.
Dani was so delightful and had such a quick whit when talking with her. I remember her beautiful appetizers (roasted garlic in olive oil), and her love for her Lord, her husband and her children. She was a jewel, indeed.
She was the one to call me at work on 911 to tell me a plane hit a building in New York! She said, "Oh, My God! Another Plane Hit!!"
I will never forget that!
Michael and kids: Dani was a incredible gift to you and all who were blessed to cross paths with.
October 4, 2021
Michael and Danette have been tremendous longtime supporters of Austin Habitat for Humanity and Habitat for Humanity International. We cherish their friendship and support and our prayers go out to the entire family for their loss.
October 3, 2021
I am so very sorry to hear of Dani's passing. I have so many fond memories of your family and our neighborhood swim team. Our kids kept coming back year after year after year and we continued to endlessly support them. Each of the kids were delightful and clearly very much in love with their mom and dad. What a loving family; my heart aches for your loss.
October 3, 2021
Dani was our neighbor growing up in Spring, Tx. We had so many fun times with our families. From her Edith Ann impersonations to her dramatic flare, she always kept us laughing. I am praying for her family's peace in knowing she is no long in pain and suffering. Sending love and prayers.
Susan Howell Gregurek
October 2, 2021
As a sister in law, she was top notch. We had years of fun together and she will be missed. I will always remember us sitting on the front steps at the Willard Thanksgivings and talking to whomever came by, then often wondering who they were once they moved on. She was a gem.
October 2, 2021
To Michael and the Willard Family, I extend my deepest sympathies at this time
of loss. I have so many fond memories of evenings spent on your lovely front
porch in Americus during my time at Habitat. Dani was always incredibly
gracious, and without question, one of the nicest people I have ever met in my life. Ken Johnson, Lexington, NC
October 1, 2021
I am so sorry Michael, Andrew, Kelsey, Erin, and Lauren. How lucky you all were to have had such a wonderful mom/wife! I loved getting to know Dani and family while they lived in Americus, and had the pleasure of teaching Andrew. May all the memories of your mom and the guidance she gave, give you peace in the days ahead. Prayers!