Robert E. Willard (1931-2011)
Robert Edward Willard, professor emeritus in the College of Business Administration, died Oct. 17 in San Diego. The longtime Cottonwood, Ariz. resident was 80 years old.
Willard taught at Cal Poly Pomona for 16 years from 1976 to 1992 where he oversaw the Accounting Department’s taxation program and also owned a 300-client tax practice in Claremont. Willard is remembered among faculty as a student-focused professor who had extensive knowledge of his field of study.
“He was an encyclopedia of tax knowledge,” says Accounting Professor Robert Hurt. “There wasn’t a question about tax that he didn’t have an answer to.”
Willard was born and raised in Arizona until he moved to Iowa to attend Graceland College (now Graceland University). After an automobile accident prevented Willard from completing his studies, he accepted a Naval Commission and learned to fly fighter jets. He later received a bachelor’s degree from Northern Arizona University. Willard and his wife Minnie Jane Willard owned and managed a hardware store while Willard earned his master’s degree from Arizona State University and his doctoral degree from University of Arizona.
After retirement from Cal Poly Pomona, Willard and his second wife Mabel “Dee” Willard moved to Cottonwood. He is survived by his wife, two children and three grandchildren as well as five step-children and six step-grandchildren. Willard is also survived by sister Meredyth Irene Willard Malone. Willard was preceded in death by his first wife Minnie and sister Donna Ruth Willard Moser.
Donations in Willard's honor may be made to the Verde Valley Sinfonietta, where he served on the advisory board:
The Verde Valley Sinfonietta
P.O. Box 4672
Sedona, AZ 86340-4672