WILLIS R FUSILIER
February 19, 1927 – March 23, 2020
Willis Rutledge (Rut) Fusilier, of Buchanan Dam, Texas, passed away on March 23, 2020, at the age of 93.
He was born on February 19, 1927, to Willis Fusilier and Bessie Hallie Dorman Fusilier in Basile, Louisiana, where he was raised and educated. He graduated from Basile High School in 1943 and went on to attend McNeese State for one year.
Shortly after turning 18, he was drafted into the US Army to serve during World War II. He was on a ship enroute to Japan when the atomic bombs were dropped which ended the war. He served the rest of his tour as an MP with the Occupation Force. He was honorably discharged from the Army in 1946. Especially in his later years, he was very proud of his time of service.
After returning from the war, he attended LSU for two years before beginning a career in the oil exploration industry with Independent Exploration. Starting in southern Louisiana, he traveled around the Midwest in search of oil. Eventually his travels took him to Buffalo, South Dakota, where he met his future wife, Cleola Ann (Shirley) Baier, at the local cafe. After a brief courtship, they married on June 26, 1954, in Buffalo and immediately embraced the traveling lifestyle. Living in more than 35 towns and cities over the span of 12 years, they eventually settled in southwest Houston to raise their two sons.
Rut loved growing vegetables in his garden and barbecuing (at which he excelled). He also received great satisfaction being “Mr. Fix It” for cars, appliances, and many other items around their house. He kept things working that others might have thrown away or replaced, like a clothes dryer which was still functioning when sold after 27 years of use.
Retiring in 1992 after working almost 45 years for Teledyne Exploration (formerly Independent Exploration), Rut and Shirley moved to Buchanan Dam to relax in the Texas Hill Country. Rut loved dancing at Pardners with Shirley and visiting with all their friends. He also enjoyed taking walks with Shirley, golfing (both playing and watching on television), serving in the Honor Guard, filing his fingernails (expert level), and hosting his grandkids and taking them for swims in Lake Buchanan. He enjoyed excellent health and was able to continue an active lifestyle until the last few years of his life. He was blessed to have a devoted wife for over 65 years who lovingly cared for him in their home until his final day.
Rut is preceded in death by his parents; brother, Warren Fusilier, sisters Myrza Lee Newby and Florence Mary.
Rut is survived by his loving wife Shirley and their sons Willis R. (Rusty) Fusilier, Jr., and wife Jackie of Georgetown, Texas, and David B. Fusilier and wife Linda of Cedar Park, Texas. He is also survived by seven grandchildren: Laura and husband Mark Pulliam, Valerie and husband Dawson Lilly, Calvin Fusilier and wife Alyssa, Beau Fusilier, Julia Fusilier, Benjamin Fusilier, and Luke Fusilier, along with great grandson Flint Pulliam.
The family would like to thank the many friends and family members who helped Shirley throughout the last several years. They would also like to thank the devoted caregivers who assisted with Rut’s care, especially Chaplain Dale and Medical Assistant Stephanie.
An immediate family-only graveside service will be held at Lakeland Hills Memorial Park with Chaplain Dale officiating and the Highland Lakes Honor Guard in attendance. A celebration of Rut’s life will be planned for later in 2020 for friends and family. In lieu of flowers, donations may be directed to the Highland Lakes Honor Guard (http://highlandlakeshonorguard.org/) in his memory or to another charity of your choice.
Arrangements are under the direction of Clements-Wilcox Funeral Home in Burnet, Texas. To place on-line condolences please visit www.mem.com.
- Private graveside and burial at Lakeland Hills Memorial Park
WILLIS R FUSILIER
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Jacqueline and Tim Roberts
March 31, 2020
Rut was a true southern gentleman who loved his family dearly. He had a youthful look right up to the end. His wife took remarkable care of him and the children supported her in this endeavor. We will always treasure our years of friendship and the fun we had country dancing with them and others at Pardners in Buchanan Dam, TX.