Bob Wills

King of Western Swing
Birth Name:
James Robert Wills
Birth Date:
March 6, 1905
Birth Place:
Kosse, Texas
Death Date:
May 13, 1975
Place of Death:
Kent Nursing Center, Fort Worth, Texas
Cause of Death:
Complications from a stroke and pneumonia
Cemetery Name:
Memorial Park Cemetery
Claim to Fame:
Bob Wills was a bandleader, fiddler, singer, and songwriter who is the most famous exponent of the popular musical genre now known as western swing, which synthesized ragtime, traditional fiddling, New Orleans jazz, blues, Mexican songs, and big band swing. Wills, along with his band the Texas Playboys, toured and recorded nonstop throughout the 1940s and early 1950s amassing dozens of hits including "Steel Guitar Rag", "New San Antonio Rose", "Smoke On The Water", "New Spanish Two Step" and "Faded Love." Wills had a heart attack in 1962 and a second one the next year, which forced him to disband the Playboys, although Wills continued to perform solo. He was recording an album with fan Merle Haggard in 1973 when a stroke left him comatose for 17 months until his death in 1975. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted Wills and the Texas Playboys in 1999.

Cemetery Information:

Final Resting Place:

Memorial Park Cemetery

5111 S Memorial Drive

Tulsa, Oklahoma, 94145


North America

Grave Location:

Section 15, Lot 560, Space 2

Grave Location Description

Park near the chapel and look for Section 15 and a group of trees. Bob is buried about 50 feet from one of the larger trees in the center of Section 15.

His brother, Billy Jack Wills, was a vocalist, songwriter, guitar player, best known for being a member of the Texas Playboys and is buried next to Bob.

His other brother, Johnnie Lee Wills, a radio personality and one of the original Texas Playboys (tenor banjo) is also buried in Section 15 in Lot 579, Space 4.

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