Willie James McClure was born in Hope, Arkansas on Thursday, September 1st, 1937, to the late Mrs. Florence Cooper-McClure and Robert McClure Sr. Willie James, the third oldest and one of thirteen siblings, helped work the family’s land as a sharecropper. His work on the farm and in the fields, no doubt, helped to shape and develop his work ethic.
In the mid-1950s, Willie James and his first bride, Lorine, were wed. That union produced two children—Dinah Juanita and Willie Jett—who joined their brother, Donnie Langston.
After the unexpected passing of Lorine, Willie James moved to Kansas City, Missouri—"the City” as referenced by his siblings and kinfolk in Hope. Coincidently, this is about the time Kansas City formally began its relationship with major league sports when the Philadelphia Athletics relocated and became the Kansas City Athletics, playing at Municipal Stadium—Willie James loved him some “baseballs.”
He worked at the Foundry creating molds, melting metal, and cleaning and finishing whatever objects were on his job list—hard work to be sure. He later went on to work for Ford Motor Company, starting out on the assembly line and working his way to Upgrader before he retired in 2003.
In December 1966, Willie James met Mary Genice Smith and they wed in May 1967. This union added a daughter, Symone Elizabeth and two sons, Robert O’Keefe and Tarius Lamont to his and his son’s (Willie Jett) life.
In the late 1970's, at Southside Christian Center in Kansas City, MO where the pastor was the late Royce Beckett, Willie James accepted Christ as his Lord and Savior.
On April 02, 1999 Willie James married the love of his life, Sondra Marie Creason. This union blessed him with another son, Allen Michael McClure. They enjoyed 23 years of love, laughter, and life in Kansas City, MO.
As most of us endeavor to do, Willie James grew and evolved into his best self over the last 20+ years. Not a man without faults or missteps, however he actively embraced the concept of "once you know better, you do better." Because of this evolution, many of those in his life were able to let go of what was behind and graciously embrace the now...the best version of Willie James.
Whether one called him a son, brother, husband, father, uncle, cousin, friend, or just “Tater-Jack,” he always answered the call. One might say his wisdom and commonsense were uncanny or lofty for a man with his level of formal education. He could book them numbers without paper or pencil... He knew and encouraged the value of education and work ethic and providing for his family. Perhaps it’s better said that his wisdom and sense was ordinary—extraordinarily ordinary. Willie James proved that all the days of his life.
Willie James was preceded in death by his father, Robert McClure Sr.; mother, Florence McClure; brother, JT McClure; brother, Bill McClure; brother, Robert McClure Jr.; and daughter, Dinah Juanita McClure.
Willie James leaves the following loved ones to cherish his memories: wife Sondra McClure; daughter Symone McClure Martin of Grandview, MO; sons Donnie Langston(Sharyn) of Flint, MI, Willie Jett McClure (Toni) of Raytown, MO, Robert McClure(Carmen) of Austin, TX, Tarius McClure of San Antonio, TX, and Allen McClure (Natalie) of Kansas City, MO; sisters Eva Mae Brown, Eva Jean Bostic-McClure, and Dalene McClure; brothers James McClure, Ray McClure, and Stephen McClure - all of the Hope, AR area and Donnie McClure (Gloria) of DeSoto, TX; grandchildren Christopher McClure, Brian McClure, Austin McClure, Tiana McClure, Haley McClure, Marissa McClure, Tarius Tupac McClure, as well as a host of great grandchildren, close relatives, and friends.
Visitation will begin at 1:00 pm, followed by a service celebrating Willie's life at 2:00 pm, on Sunday, April 10, at Park Lawn Northland Chapel, Liberty. Burial will follow at Glenridge Cemetery. Memorials are suggested to the KU Cancer Center.Service Information:
Visitation will begin at 1:00 pm, followed by a service celebrating Willie’s life at 2:00 pm, on Sunday, April 10, at Park Lawn Northland Chapel, Liberty. Burial will follow at Glenridge Cemetery. Memorials are suggested to the KU Cancer Center.