Ramona Belle (Billick) Willis (1930 - 2014)

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  • "I'm so sorry to learn of your loss. May God give you..."
    - KJ
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Ramona Belle Willis, 83, died Monday, March 31, 2014 at Trinity Center at Luther Park in Des Moines. Funeral services were held 11 a.m. Tuesday, April 8, 2014 at Epworth United Methodist Church, 412 Euclid Avenue, Des Moines. A graveside service was held at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday at Maple Grove Cemetery in Audubon. Hamilton's Funeral Home in Des Moines was in charge of the arrangements.
Ramona Belle was born on July 30, 1930 to parents Lela (Eddy) and Hugh Billick in Exira. She graduated from Audubon High School in 1948 and in 1951 completed nurses training at St. Anthony's School of Nursing in Carroll. Very early as a nurse Ramona provided care to polio patients in Honolulu, Hawaii. She lived most of her adult life in Des Moines and devoted her career to saving the lives of babies born prematurely or having birth defects. As supervisor of nursing services, she assisted a team of physicians with opening the new Neo Natal Center at Blank Memorial Hospital in 1972. After Ramona retired early from Blank she was recruited by Mercy Hospital and served as head nurse for its neonatal intensive care unit for several years.
Ramona was musical, artistic, and had numerous hobbies. She was a member of the Sweet Adeline's Choral Society and sang in an award winning quartet. As an active member of Epworth United Methodist Church, Ramona enjoyed singing in church choir and playing trumpet, visiting shut-ins, and helping with church social and charitable activities. She also sang and played her trumpet in Highland Park's music group the Senior Singers which often performed at local nursing homes.
Ramona created many pieces of crochet work and counted cross stitch including depictions of The Lord's Supper, scenes from the Old West, birds and wildlife. Friends and relatives cherish her beautiful landscape paintings. She loved sightseeing, traveling, and fishing with her beloved aunt Winnie Schaefer and many summers included trips to view hot air balloon races with friends and family including her dear aunt Edna Mae Vaux. Ramona celebrated the Fourth of July every summer in Exira with her sister Rose Jean, and many close family members and friends. Being an animal lover, Ramona often saved stray animals and found them a home; she always had a dog and her toy poodle Rusty has been a close companion for years.
Ramona was a caregiver to countless family members, friends, and acquaintances throughout her life. She often took people to doctor's appointments, the store for groceries or medicine, and the most favorite - out to eat. Ramona also visited members of her church who were shut-ins and helped neighbors and friends who relied on her. Despite her struggle with memory loss first diagnosed in 2006, because of Ramona's determination and the support of close friends, she was able to live independently in her own home for many years; Janice and Bill Flaherty, Lola Himmel, and Marilynn Moberg were Ramona's guardian angels. In July 2011 Ramona decided she could no longer live on her own and chose to reside at Trinity Care Center in Des Moines.
Ramona is survived by sister, Rose Jean Hansen; brother-in-law, Joe Hansen; niece and nephews and great niece and nephew: Christy and Andre Guay; Hugh, Elea and Isaak Hansen, and Michael Hansen; cousins Shirley Grabill, Marilyn Peterson, and Herb Schaefer; cousins Sue Mozingo and Leland Vaux; and many dear friends and extended family members.
Online condolences may be expressed at www.HamiltonsFuneralHome.com.

Funeral Home
Hamilton's Funeral Home
121 NW 60th Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50313
(515) 289-2442
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Published in AUDUBON COUNTY ADVOCATE JOURNAL from Apr. 11 to Apr. 18, 2014