William “Joe”, “Willy” Lagman, passed away on July 17, 2020 after 58 years of life and a courageous journey with cancer. He was born on August 5, 1961 in Betis, Guagua, Pampanga, Philippines in a tiny cinder block home with no windows to Victor and Eliza Lagman. At an early age, he discovered his love for gambling and sugar, where he traded his lunch money (which was only a dime!) for a game of Techsing and regularly chopped down a neighbor’s sugarcane which was almost always followed by a footrace against the owner’s machete :) . After moving to the U.S., they forced him to start 1st grade even though he didn’t know ANY English, but became a subject in which he quickly excelled, so his future self never understood why his native-English speaking children were so horrible at it. He was a big brother to Victor, Ric, and Dave and protected them wholeheartedly, just like a big brother should, taking the blame (and Asian-parent beating) for everything he did and didn’t do. He could shoot a nothing-but-net 3-pointer like no other short Filipino, encouraged by the sound of his own voice calling out “swoosh” over and over. In Filipino Drama Club, he made his debut flying across the stage, machete in hand, with the gusto one would only expect from lived experience. His other talent was his crazy sniper-like rubber band shooting skills, he could kill flies on the ceiling from across the room, which may have come from all of the Bruce Lee movies he watched and mimicked.
He married his high-school sweetheart, Kim, and together they raised three children- Jacqueline- his boo-boo, Joseph- his boochug, and Justin- his pip-squeak. (Although, in reality, the two of them raised many, many more children and oh how much they both loved it!) He was the best dad, so overly proud of his children, constantly bragging to the point that it was embarrassing. But he was always there, at every baseball game and practice, cheering us on… and also unfortunately terrorizing the umps and other kids (but it wasn’t his fault that their calls were way off and the other kids sucked! jk). You couldn’t miss him- in his iconic orange Oakley’s, black pouch, and short shorts with his deafening whistle and hotheaded remarks. He wouldn’t miss a game for the world! He loved nothing more than to watch us play.
32 years as a proud Letter Carrier for the U.S. Postal Service, he worked countless hours of overtime, helping everyone else on their routes, especially his father. He tried the best he could to live up to his mother’s desire for him to take responsibility for the entire family. He was a provider for our family- trying and succeeding at giving us the world.
He was definitely one-of-a-kind with his many quirks: once he found something he loved, on repeat it went, whether it was the Singing Nun, Quit Playing Games with My Heart by the Backstreet Boys, The Count of Monte Cristo, Sleepless in Seattle, or any Hallmark channel movie. Once he started something, he was determined to finish it- staying up all night to finish a 6th grade Mission project, a 9th grade math homework problem, or the entire Mario 64 and Star Wars Shadows of the Empire video games. He would wait in line at Wal-Mart or Hallmark starting at 6am to buy (literal) closets full of Power Rangers and Beanie Babies, sometimes dragging us along, and sometimes… getting into fights. He also had a knack for long-winded stories and inappropriate dad jokes that would make you cringe, but he sure did make himself laugh.
Eventually, the grouchy young man became a grouchy old man that only wanted to watch the Giants or the Cowboys on TV with Penny, bet on horses, talk to his mom on the phone, take his granddaughter Lexi for walks in the park, BBQ for his growing family- Ilinka and Lisset, avoid being hugged, and buy his daughter mangoes. He showed his love in the most mysterious ways, but it was always there (mostly). He will forever be remembered for his atypical, yet unconditional love, his uniqueness, his odd sense of humor, his hard work, his stubbornness, his temper, his obsessions, and his timeless sense of fashion.