Roger H. Willey (1927 - 2012)

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  • "I just heard of Roger's passing. I am so sorry for you..."
    - Jere Graetz
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INDEPENDENCE– Roger H. Willey, 84, of Independence, Iowa, died Friday evening, Aug. 3, at the Buchanan County Health Center in Independence.
Roger was born on Sept. 14, 1927, in Independence the son of Horace B. and Hazel (Scott) Willey. Roger graduated from the Independence High School in 1945 and entered the US Navy serving until his discharge in September 1945. Following his discharge he attended the University of Iowa for two years. On June 6, 1948 he was married to Joan Hanken in Oelwein. Roger and his mother owned and operated the Willey's Bookstore from the early 1940s until the fall of 1956. Roger was elected Buchanan County Recorder for two terms leaving to take a position as manager of the Buchanan County Abstract Office for 49 years prior to his retirement in 2005.
Roger was best known as the "Voice of the Mustangs" announcing both the Independence Mustangs Football and Basketball games for fifty four years, earning himself a spot in the Iowa High School Athletic Union's Hall of Fame. He was also an active member of the First Presbyterian Church singing in the church choir for over sixty years, a member of the Independence Federal Bank for Savings Board of Directors since 1967 and was Past President of the Iowa State Association of Abstractors. He was also active in the Independence Chamber of Commerce, American Legion, Draft Board, and the Zoning Commission.
He is survived by his wife Joan Willey, Independence, two daughters; Jane (Lon) Arfsten, Franklin, Wisconsin, and Lynn (Bill) Isham, Independence, three grandchildren; Jonathan and Daniel Arfsten, and Alexandra Isham, two great grandchildren; Sofia and Dylan Arfsten.
He was preceded in death by his parents, and two brothers; John and Charles Willey.
Funeral services were held at 10 a.m. Monday at the First Presbyterian Church, Independence, with Rev. John Hougen officiating. Burial will be in the Wilson Cemetery, Independence. Visitation was from 2 to 6 p.m. Sunday at the Reiff Funeral Home & Crematory, Independence where a Military Memorial Service were held at 4 p.m. Sunday.
For more information or to leave an on-line condolence please go to under obituaries.
Published in Independence Bulletin-Journal from Aug. 6 to Aug. 25, 2012
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