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Lifelong Fairbanks, Alaska resident Willis Everett Greimann, 79, passed into the arms of our Lord on Jan. 4, 2014 at the University of Arizona Hospital in Tucson, AZ.

Willis was born on May 5, 1934 in Fairbanks, Alaska. After attending and graduating from Main High School, Willis enlisted in the Navy, became a veteran of the Korean War, and represented the Navy in Golden Gloves Boxing. After his service, Willis returned to Alaska, where he attended the University Of Alaska Fairbanks. It was during this time he met the love of his life, Patricia Mae Pederson. The two were married on Aug. 30, 1958 and enjoyed their lives together for over 55 years. He started his professional career working at the Standard Garage Automobile Dealership for his parents Paul Sr. and Flora Greimann. Shortly thereafter Willis began a career in the banking industry, where he was a loan officer for Alaska National Bank in the Commercial and Mortgage Lending departments. After a lengthy career as an officer and shareholder for Alaska National Bank, Willis was tapped by the Alaska Division of Investments to help oversee business loans for the State of Alaska. He eventually retired from the State of Alaska in his mid-50s to enjoy the fruits of his hard work. After retirement, Willis and Patty improved their cabin at Harding Lake, which they built with their own hands in the late '50s. Once the Harding Lake home was finished, they spent the next 20 years of their lives living between Harding Lake, Alaska during the summer months and their winter home in Green Valley, Ariz.

Willis was always very active in the Fairbanks community, serving many years with the Fairbanks Kiwanis, Fairbanks Rotary, Jaycees, The Fairbanks Downtown Association and the Pioneers of Alaska Igloo #4. For years his Friday luncheons were spent with his fellow P.O.E.T.S. brethren.

A special mention regarding Willis' love of ice hockey and his involvement with the Fairbanks youth and adult hockey associations. From the early '70s to the mid-90s, Willis was either coaching, officiating or playing hockey in the Fairbanks area. Willis was particularly passionate about the ice rinks he built every winter behind the family homes on Gregory Street and then later on Talkeetna Street. These rinks were a source of enjoyment for family, friends and neighbors for close to 15 years.

Another passion of Willis & Patty's was world travel. Special trips (primarily during the winter months) were made to locations such as Australia, Fiji, China, Europe, Peru and many destinations in between. In recent years, they spent much of their time traveling and exploring locales within their beloved State of Alaska.

Willis was an accomplished runner, participating in adult distance races over a 20-year span. As part of the Alaska Airlines running team, Willis participated in races in Alaska, California and Australia. He consistently was a top finisher in his age groups, winning several of his races in the Midnight Sun Runs, Pedro Monument races and Arizona Senior Olympics. Some of his greatest memories were running in these races with his wife Patty, son Todd, and grandchildren Tanner and Kendyl Greimann.

Willis was preceded in death by his parents, Paul & Flora Greimann; brother Malcolm Greimann and sister Katherine (Greimann) Hummel. He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Patricia Greimann of Harding Lake, Alaska; son, Todd Greimann and his wife Jennifer Greimann of Denver, Colo.; grandson Tanner Greimann of Juneau Alaska; granddaughter Kendyl Greimann of Denver, Colo.; brother Paul Greimann Jr. & wife Agnes Greimann of Anchorage. Alaska; sister Judy (Greimann) Moore and her husband Jim Moore of Soldotna, Alaska; and brother-in-law Jack Hummel, also of Soldotna, Alaska.

In light of Willis' love for the local hockey community, the family requests that donations be made in his name to the Fairbanks Youth Hockey Association, P.O. Box 72712, Fairbanks Alaska 99707.

A celebration of life for Willis will be held in Fairbanks, Alaska this summer.

Published in Green Valley News & Sun on Jan. 15, 2014
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