Edwards Funeral Home

201 North 12Th Street, Fort Smith, AR


Philip "Droop" Willcoxon

September 13, 1950October 18, 2019

Philip David "Droop" Willcoxon, 69, of Fort Smith died October 18, 2019.

Droop is survived by his wife of 45 years, Judith Koon Willcoxon; brother, Jim Willcoxon and wife Rita of Melbourne, Florida; niece, Erica Thomas and her husband Eric of Nashville, Tennessee; and nephew, Grant Willcoxon of Charlotte, North Carolina. He is also survived by Tonie Faitala, his dedicated caregiver for the past 15 years. She and P.D. developed a special bond.

Droop was a life-long resident of Fort Smith where he graduated from Northside High School in 1968. He was a starting guard on the 1968 state champion basketball team that defeated Southside in the state finals. Droop attended Westark Junior College (now UAFS) on a baseball scholarship and then went on to play baseball and tennis at State College of Arkansas (now UCA). During his senior season, he teamed with his doubles partner to capture the AIC Tennis Championship. After graduating from SCA in 1973, he returned to Fort Smith to pursue his dream of teaching and coaching.

Droop began his professional career at Ramsey Jr. High where he taught Special Education and coached football and basketball. In 1976, he was promoted to the position of head basketball coach at Chaffin Junior High where he worked until 1983. After 10 years of teaching and coaching, Droop was forced to retire because of his on-going battle with Multiple Sclerosis. Coach Willcoxon was so respected that the winning coach at the Fort Smith Jr. High Basketball Christmas Tournament is awarded the Philip "Droop" Willcoxon Coaches Award.

In addition to his teaching and coaching career, Droop was an outstanding high school basketball referee and American Legion baseball umpire. Philip and Judy are members of Grand Avenue Baptist Church.

The funeral service is scheduled for 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, October 22, 2019, at Edwards Funeral Home. Visitation at Edwards will follow the service. There will be a private burial.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Fort Smith Boys and Girls Club, 4905 North O Street, Fort Smith, AR 72904.

Online condolences may be sent to www.edwardsfuneralhome.com


  • Judith Koon Willcoxon, Wife
  • Mary Kathryn Sumners, Mother (deceased)
  • Philip Arthur Willcoxon, Father
  • Jim Willcoxon and wife Rita, Brother
  • Erica Thomas and husband Eric, Niece
  • Grant Willcoxon, Nephew
  • Tonie Faitala, Caregiver

  • Fort Smith Boys and Girls Club


  • Memorial Service Tuesday, October 22, 2019


Philip "Droop" Willcoxon

have a memory or condolence to add?

Jerry Bridges

October 22, 2019

I had the pleasure of being a teammate of Droop at Westark for two years. It was a great time getting to know him and playing baseball and basketball together.
Condolences to all the family.

Stan McDaniel

October 22, 2019

Judy, so sad to hear of Droop’s passing. Such a great guy. Our family’s thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. We had so much fun together on the ‘68 Kerwins team. I think Droop and Matlock competed for who could get their uniforms the dirtiest! Know he’ll be missed immensely.

James Wagoner

October 22, 2019

I have known him since back in his officiating days. He was always such a professional, well dressed, shoes shined. You knew he enjoyed it. I enjoyed sitting with him sometimes in the Southside press box watching a game. He was respected by many people and will be missed greatly. My prayers go out to his family.

BILLY Higgins

October 22, 2019

I remember Phillip as a brave, strong man.
Watching him play sports when he was growing up was a treat. Coach Jim Wyatt told me yesterday that Droop pulled down a rebound in the last minute of the 1968 state championship high school basketball game between Northside and Southside in Barton Colosseum which gave Jerry Jennings the last shot to win the game for the Grizzlies.
In the 1967 Babe Ruth state championship game in Crossett, Arkansas, Droop hit a near 400' home run to deep center field a wow! moment for his teammates, Coach Bill Breedlove, and myself.
Phillip gave us great memories, he and his dad "Preacher" Willcoxon, also a fine athlete.

Eddie Robben

October 20, 2019

Jimbo, Rita, and Family,

My condolences on Coach Phillip's passing. I have great memories of him as my coach at Ramsey and the many Babe Ruth and Legion games he umpired; he was a super role model and person.

I hope you all are well and may God bless you all at this time and always.

Take care,

Ed Robben

Cindy Fleming

October 20, 2019

I had the pleasure of caring for Phillip, as a home health nurse, and I want to say he was an extraordinary person and an inspiration to anyone who had the opportunity to know him. In my time of caring for him, I never saw him angry, resentful, or hopeless. He always made me smile. Fly with the Angels, my friend.