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Willis Dean Colson

Willis Dean Colson, age 85, of Burlington, Oklahoma, passed away Saturday, January 21, 2023. He was born June 4, 1937, to John W. Colson and Waneta Crowl Colson. He was a graduate of Kiowa Public Schools where he was an outstanding athlete. Willis excelled in basketball, football, tennis, and track. He received a four-year scholarship in football to Northwestern Oklahoma State University, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in physical education/health and industrial arts. While at Northwestern, he met and married the love of his life, Peggy Cook, in 1958. After college, Willis began his teaching/coaching career in Bloom, Kansas and then moved to Montezuma, Kansas. While at Montezuma (1961-1967), he and Jim Hull coached the boys’ basketball team to second place in State in 1963. In 1968, he began teaching at Burlington, Oklahoma where he taught Industrial Arts, Woodworking, Driver’s Education, and coached girls’ basketball. The 1970 girls’ team placed second in State with two All-Staters. Willis retired from teaching in 1992, and farmed full-time, retiring in 2018.

Willis was very active in the community where he was Lion’s Club President 1981 to 1982, Burlington’s Mayor for six years and on the City Council for twelve years.  He was the Keith Cemetery Secretary/Treasurer for forty-seven years, Alfalfa County District One Representative for four years, and on the Tax Excise and Equalization Board. He was also a member of the Burlington Education Foundation.

Willis is preceded in death by his wife, Peggy; his son, Craig, and his parents, John and Waneta Colson.

He is survived by his son, Nick Colson and wife, Renee, Tulsa; daughter, Jill Haub and husband, Troy, Kingfisher; grandsons, Docker Haub, San Antonio, Texas and Declan Haub, Emporia, Kan.; brother-in-law, Mike Cook and wife, Rhonda, Alva.

Celebration of Life Ceremony for Willis will be at 10:30 a.m, Saturday, January 28, at Lanman Funeral Home in Cherokee. 

Burial will be in Keith Cemetery with arrangements by Lanman Funeral Home, Inc. of Cherokee.  Facebook:  Lanman Funeral Home Inc.

In lieu of flowers, friends may make a memorial donation to: Burlington Education Foundation Burlington Public Schools 401 Main St. Burlington, OK  73722 or through the funeral home.

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