Mr. William Wilmore
Beloved Husband, Father, Brother, and Friend
Life and Legacy: William Wilmore’s Story
William means resolute protector, a strong-willed warrior. It’s a name held by kings and conquerors. Earl, of British origin, means nobleman, warrior, or prince. The surname Wilmore, deriving from the German “Wilmar,” has roots from the Old High German “Willi,” meaning desire, determination and “Mari” meaning fame, renown. It also indicates truth and loyalty.
This means, then, that William Earl Wilmore is the perfect name to describe the man who would go on to be a devoted husband, father, provider, and protector, who fought until God called him home to spend eternity with Him and is likely now playing football in a Houston Oilers jersey on streets of gold.
William was born on May 27, 1958, in Crockett, Texas. Pictures of William as a young boy reveal a quiet, serene smile. No flashy, toothy grins, but someone kind and gentle in spirit – two traits that would go on to be said about him well into his adult life.
Growing up in the country, family members said that William reminded them of the baby chicks because of his small stature. But what he may not have had in size initially, he more than made up for with his mind. Baby chicks are highly intelligent, known for critical thinking skills and self-control. Again, all attributes that defined William well.
William loved to read and said that books allowed him to travel to places he’d never imagined. One day, he would indeed see those destinations, stopping in Paris for work and bringing back beloved trinkets for his “babies,” the term he often used to affectionately describe his wife, son, and daughter.
He’d go from California dreaming to California living for a stint in San Francisco. William would later journey overseas to Africa, spending time in Malabo, the capital of Equatorial Guinea on the west coast of the continent. A career in IT would also take him to Madrid, Spain.
He’d recalled to his family how, during one of these flights, his seat was upgraded to first-class and once he was there? “It was just me and Rod Stewart. I didn’t bother him, of course.”
Remember that “fame” is one of the meanings tied to Wilmore. It is no wonder then that William was a celebrity in his own right, moving about his everyday life with a desire to be the best and look just as sharp with a penchant for dispensing wisdom more valuable than the finest diamonds or gold.
As a Cub Scout, he enjoyed camping, perhaps an early nod to his abundant resourcefulness. No task or challenge was too hard for William to conquer.
Once his family moved to Houston, he was a student at Foster Elementary. He’d go on to attend Lamar High School, noting that he could see River Oaks Country Club from where he sat in class and would see members playing tennis. High school yearbook photos showed him drawing, another skill he possessed. The pictures also reflected the styles of the times (“I’m a product of the 70s,” he’d say), including a lush, black Afro that girls in class liked to comb – long before he met Gloria, of course.
Like any longtime Houstonian, William was accustomed to heartbreak at the hands of our sports teams. He grew up listening to the Astros on the radio in his room and once belonged to the franchise’s kids club, Astros Buddies. That heart was mended when he watched the games with his son and daughter, and ultimately, saw the ballclub win two World Series.
But the team that always had his heart was the Houston Oilers. Luv Ya Blue? Maybe it should have been Luv Ya Bill.
He recently recalled a season where the Oilers went 1 and 13 under head coach Bill Peterson. William must have been about 14 years old at the time, but boy, did he want to help the team. He mailed Peterson plays. In turn, Peterson gave him $5, invited him down to the field and they ran one of the plays. That moment made him an Oilers fan for life. He also remembered vividly the one game they did win that season – a victory over the Jets and quarterback Joe Namath.
William could tell you anything about every game, player, coach, and season. He shared how he could easily go to the games when the Oilers were here in Houston once upon a time, and sometimes have the entire row to himself, his seat at the 50-yard line. He instilled that same passion in his children, so that even when the Oilers moved to Tennessee, their hearts went with them.
He took his children to see the Titans when they’d come to town to play the Houston Texans. His daughter was too shy to wave hello to her favorite player at the time, Justin McCareins. But the shyness melted and morphed into exhilaration when then-Titans quarterback Steve McNair connected with Drew Bennett in a thrilling finish. Steve, or Air McNair, was William’s favorite player to watch.
Gloria, who kept her stress level low by avoiding the living room on Sundays when the Oilers/Titans were down and instead is always cheerfully heard humming a hymn, topped it all for him, though.
William called Gloria his angel, whom he met on a cold, wet, windy day in Houston. She was out shopping for new furniture. He was the manager of the store where she was shopping. The rest, as they say, is history. During their nearly 40-year marriage, they raised and loved two children, daughter Brittaney and son Brandon. William recounted many times how he asked God to send him an angel. The Lord graciously obliged.
It is even more fitting that “Gloria” is a hymn of the angels. She cared for him until the very end.
William departed from his earthly angel to join the Heavenly hosts on October 7, 2023.
He is preceded in death by his father James Weldon Wilmore, mother Mildred Pink Wilmore, older brother James Henry Wilmore, sister-in-law Eulalee Thomas, and father-in-law Robert Thomas.
William, a strong-willed warrior and resolute protector, who bore the name often given to kings, is now at peace with the King and taking his rightful place in the kingdom as royalty.
Saturday, October 28, 2023
Visitation: 10 AM- 10:45 AM
Celebration of Life Services: 11 AM
Southwest Community "The Bridge" Christian Center
14880 Bellaire Blvd. ~ Houston, Texas 77083
Dr. Gregg J. Patrick, Pastor Officiating
Houston Memorial Gardens Cemetery