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Celebrating the Life of Willas DeMorst

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Former San Bernardino resident and devoted Temple Missionary Baptist Church member Willas Lee DeMorst passed away at the age of 64 on March 14, 2011. DeMorst was born in Lake Providence Louisiana, and grew up in San Bernardino. She graduated from San Bernardino High School in 1965 and was voted most outstanding female athlete.

DeMorst soon married and relocated to San Diego, where she raised her three sons. After raising her children, DeMorst went on to get her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration in 1985 from National University.

She became a Social Worker for the county of San Diego and later became an Organizing Director for SEIU local 535, where she worked for many years. Finally she worked as the Chief Negotiator for the United Domestic Workers in San Diego.

DeMorst was a free spirit who loved to travel, enjoyed politics, and fighting for a cause. Most of all she loved her family and friends.

She leaves to cherish her memory her sons: Lionel (Caroline), Myles and Malia, Laban (Dee Ann) Nicholas, Lucian (Patricia) and Wade. She also leaves her brother and his family Lonnie Wall (Celeste and Leslie, Victoria, and Lonnie II, and her sister, Janice Wall.

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0 # Guest 2011-04-05 15:16
Willas hired me as an organizer at Local 535 some years ago. She helped me to develop as an organizer but it wasn't long before she was my friend. After the locals were restructured we went to work for different unions, we continued to talk and visit. A couple of years ago a friend and I took a road trip to San Diego to visit Willas. We went to a play that involved audience participation. Of course there was a dramatic shooting scene and the lights went out to keep the suspect a mystery. When the lights came back on, the shooting victim, a handsome young man, was laying across Willas's lap. The whole place burst out laughing. Except Willas. Of course that just made us all laugh harder until she finally broke out laughing. That is how I want to remember Willas. Laughing, enjoying life, and not taking herself so seriously that she couldn't (ultimately) take a joke. I will miss my friend Willas. But I am so glad that I got to call her my friend.
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