In 1963 Willard sold his lumber business in Anacortes, WA and returned to school at the age of 52. He graduated from the San Francisco School of Mortuary Science in 1964 and began his career in funeral directing. He completed his apprenticeship at Green's Funeral Home in Bellevue and received his state funeral director/embalmer licenses. In 1965 he purchased Chapman Funeral Home in Friday Harbor where he and his wife Bernice made their home for 2 years. In 1967 he, along with his son, Bob, founded Evans Funeral Chapel in Anacortes, which remains with the family, being currently owned by his son Bob. Willard was active in the funeral business until 1988, but continued to be involved for another 5 years, finally retiring at the age of 84. Willard passed away on September 9, 2002; nevertheless, his vision of serving families with the utmost respect and dignity lives on.