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Left the Range - Dave Willis

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  • Left the Range - Dave Willis

    As the clubs members age, we unfortunately loose members to illness, age or accidents.

    This last month we lost another member: Marion “David” Willis

    See below obituary from Daves Daughter Eve


    Marion “David” Willis was born at Blackwell General Hospital, Blackwell Oklahoma on April 24, 1950 to
    James David (Jim) and Patricia Willis. Raised on East McKinley with Grandparents, James “Harvey” and
    Sabina Willis, next door and Great grandparents, Joe Crawford and Eva Willis, across the alley, David
    found lots of little boy things to do like take apart the natural gas meter with his new tool kit. In May of
    1955, he rode out the F5 tornado that severely damaged his house and a great many others by huddling
    under his parent’s bed. He spent his young years mechanicing with his dad as his mechanical aptitude
    grew. David rode a red Cushman scooter during his early teen years which led to a lifelong passion for
    motorcycles. He worked for Uncle Max and Aunt Mary Ann Sullins on the farm for much of his teen
    summers making fond lifetime memories. In 1967, David followed in his father’s vocational footsteps as
    a conventional machinist in the J.E Warren Machine Shop. Graduating Blackwell High School with the
    Class of 1968, he continued his employment at the machine shop until he enlisted in the US Navy. He
    served as a machinist on both the USS Hugh Purvis and the USS Spear. Honorably Discharged in 1973,
    David returned to Blackwell and worked again for J.E. Warren. One of his favorite projects was to
    machine new parts for the owner of a collection of gigantic Case Steam Engine tractors and help keep
    them running for the annual Pawnee OK. Steam and Gas Engine Show.

    David became a member of MENSA in the early 1980s when he met the love of his life, Chifra Holt.
    Trained in modern dance and ballet, Chifra performed in New York City and started the School of Dance
    at Wichita State University in Kansas. Capturing his heart and exposing him to more cultural things than
    he had ever experienced, they moved to Foster City, California and married on May 19, 1984, later
    moving to Fremont, California. David worked as a machinist at NUMMI (New United Motor

    Manufacturing, Inc., jointly owned by General Motors and Toyota). A few years later, they moved to
    Corona, California where he was the shop manager of Riverside Machine Works in Riverside California.
    From his roots in Blackwell, David’s love for motorcycle racing grew. First, he flat-tracked on region
    racetracks such as 81 Speedway in Wichita. While in Fremont, he competed in motorcycle drag racing.
    Finally finding his niche after moving to Corona, David began to compete for land speed records on El
    Mirage dry lakebed with the Southern California Timing Association. In 1994, he set a land speed record
    with the SCTA on a RZ 350 Yamaha on pump gas of 148.87 mph. That record still holds today. He made
    many runs down the El Mirage course on several different bikes and set the racecourse for many years
    till ill health prevented him from doing so.

    Shooting and reloading a variety of pistols and rifles was also something he found pleasure in. David
    was a member and participating competitor in the Corona Sportsman’s Club. After retirement he began
    to volunteer at the Corona Police Department on the firing range. As a range volunteer, he easily shared
    his expertise to the officers and helped them with their skills. Volunteering at the range gave him
    purpose to keep moving and fighting while battling with cancer.

    David passed from this world on April 28, 2023 after a five year battle with multiple myeloma, a blood
    cancer. He is survived by his wife Chifra Holt, stepdaughter Eve Jaffe and husband Glenn, granddaughter
    Erica Jaffe, granddaughter Rachel Jaffe Leibowitz and husband Jordan, and sisters Yvonne (Derral)
    Krebbs and Brenda (Melvin) Osburn, of Blackwell, Oklahoma.​