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William "Big Will"'s Story

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Will died suddenly on June 4, 2016 at the Northeastern Health System Hospital in Tahlequah, Oklahoma following a heart attack. Left to mourn are his son Simon Allison and Simon's mother Stephanie Gillen, of Austin, TX, parents Mary and Ben Boatman of Norman, OK and Debbie Boatman and Mary Gann of Norman, OK, Grandparents M.P. and Susie Gillham of Atoka, OK, and Grandmother Lee Cave of Green Valley, AZ. He was preceded in death by his Paternal Grandparents Joe and Elizabeth Boatman of Muskogee, OK, and his Maternal Grandparents John and JoeAnne Everitt of Muskogee, OK. Will also leaves behind his two younger siblings: Jeb Boatman, his wife Taryn, and their children Elle, Mack, and Lily of Oklahoma City, OK and Susan Wilson, her husband Geoff and their children Maryann and baby boy due in September of Norman, OK. Big Will had a big family full of aunts, uncles, and cousins who collectively grieve over his passing.
Will was born on March 9, 1976 at the United States Air Force Academy Hospital in Colorado Springs, CO to Debbie and Ben Boatman. Will was abundantly blessed by gaining a second Mom in Mary Boatman who, with Ben, raised Will with his two siblings in Northeastern Oklahoma. In 1994 Will graduated from Bartlesville High School. After which he made the move to his beloved Tahlequah to attend Northeastern State University where he was involved in the theatre program. He graduated from Northeastern in 2005 with a degree in General Studies.
Ever the free spirit and wanderer, Will had the opportunity to live and work all over the United States. His most treasured work experiences came while teaching at the Montessori Academy in Bartlesville and in the Special Education class at Reagan Elementary in Norman. No matter where he roamed, he always made his way back to his true home: Tahlequah.
Will always lived his life by his own rules and values. And what he valued most were his friends and family. He found solace and joy in the simple moments: spending time with friends at the Iguana Cafee, playing music, appreciating art in all its forms, and having deep meaningful conversations. The number of lives that Will touched is unknown but vast. What made Big Will big, wasn't his size, but the love and joy he brought everyone he met with the biggest smile and the biggest hug - that is what made Big Will big.
A celebration of life will occur at the Center for Performing Arts at Northeastern State University on Thursday, June 9, 2016 at 1:00 P.M. Big Will's family asks that, in lieu of flowers, donations please be made to Save the Illinois River, Inc. at illinoisriver.org.
Published on June 6, 2016
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