Guinness World Record holder William Lawlis Pace, living in Turlock, died at the age of 103 years old and as the record title holder for “longest time to live with a bullet in the head.” Lawlis, as he was best known as, was given the record title in 2008 and now stands at 94 ½ years of living with a bullet in the head. Lawlis had his 103rd birthday on February 27, 2012, before passing away a couple months later on Monday, April 23, 2012.
In 1917, Lawlis, who was 8 years old at the time, and his brother Marvin, 12 years old, were playing at their Burkburnett, Texas farm house when his brother picked up their dad’s single shot .22 caliber rifle and was playfully holding his brother at gunpoint. His brother did not know the gun was loaded when he pulled the trigger and accidently shot Lawlis in the head.
He was taken to the hospital and later sent to a specialist in Dallas. Despite the headshot wound, Lawlis remained conscious without major signs of trauma. The doctors decided to leave the bullet in his head because it was too close to the brain and that it was too risky to try to do anything for him.
The shot to the head never bothered Lawlis, or not enough to stop him from a long life of farming, getting married, traveling around the world, having kids, and living to see many grandchildren and great-grandchildren as he turned 103 years old.
Before the woman he married, Onetia, passed away in 2004, Lawlis celebrated 70 years of marriage.
William “Lawlis” Pace Obituary:
William Lawlis Pace died peacefully in his sleep Monday morning, April 23, 2012. He had celebrated his 103rd birthday February 27th. Lawlis was born in 1909 in Burkburnett, Texas. He was the second son of Myrtle and William Pace. He is preceeded in death by his wife of 70 years, Onetia, and their infant son, Daphael Gene, his parents, sister Audrey Erwin, and two brothers, Marvin and Howard.
He is survived by his brother Seth (Tex)and wife Dorothy; sons Bill (wife Eunice) and Theron (wife Marilyn); grandchildren Wesley (his sons Daniel, Peter, and Benjamin), Carlynn Sawyer (husband Butch), Kathryn Sinske (husband Terrell, their children Corey and Nicole) and Bryon Pace.
Lawlis and his family came to Hilmar in 1946 and settled on a 40 acre farm on the corner of Mitchell (now American Avenue) and Tegner Road. In 1956 he became the caretaker of the North and South Hilmar cemeteries.
In 2008 Lawlis was cited by the Guinness Book of Records as the holder of the record titled “Person living longest (91 years, now 95 years) with bullet in the head” – the result of a childhood accident occurring at the age of eight.
Lawlis will be missed but always loved and remembered by his family and many friends. His sense of humor and kindness was experienced by all who knew him.
A graveside service will be held at 10:00 am Saturday, April 28th at the North Hilmar Cemetery on Tegner Road between American and August avenues. Officiating at the service will be Pastors Reverend Luther Englund and Reverend Marvin Wickstrom, long time friends from Hilmar Covenant Church. Funeral arrangements have been made by Allen Mortuary, 247 North Broadway, Turlock. Viewing will be Friday 10:00 am to 7:00 pm. Following the graveside service a luncheon will be served at the Hilmar Covenant Church.
Memorials may be given to a favorite charity or Hilmar Covenant Church.