Eskridge-Jason Jess Willard, 37, passed away Thursday, August 9, 2012 from injuries he received in an auto accident on K-4 Highway north of Eskridge. He was born February 4, 1975 at Topeka, the son of Thomas J. and Brenda J. Prescott Willard. Jason graduated from Mission Valley High School in 1993. He attended Highland Junior College where he played football. He also attended Ottawa University and played football. He received both his bachelors and masters degrees from Baker University, Baldwin City. Jason served in the Army Reserves obtaining the rank of Master Sergeant and was currently serving with the 3rd 383rd TSBN, St. Louis, MO. He was deployed to Germany after 9-11. Jason joined Hill's in 2010 as a Shift Coordinator at the Emporia Plant. He was promoted to Operations Team Leader in 2011 and distinguished himself as a consummate professional in his demeanor with both peers and other Hill's team members. He was recently promoted again in 2012 to FP&R/CI Area Leader. Jason was a loyal friend to his co-workers and will be missed by all who knew him. He took extreme pride in helping coach his children in the Eskridge community, coaching youth football, basketball, baseball and wrestling. He was very passionate about his children's athletic events. On May 3, 2003 he was united in marriage to Renae Henry in Topeka. She survives of the home. Other survivors include his children, Haley, Cade, Gabe and Kinlee all of the home; his parents, T.J. and Brenda Willard, Eskridge; grandmother, Geraldine Willard, Topeka; two brothers, Brett (Jeni) Willard, Topeka and Charlie (Roni) Willard, Maple Hill; in-laws, Ed and Robin Lignitz, Carbondale; brothers-in-law, Travis Henry, Carbondale and Cory (Traci) Henry, Eskridge; nephews, Carter, Nick, Alex and Cameron; nieces, Leah Jo and Jerzi. A Celebration of Life service will be at 10:00 A.M. Monday, August 13, 2012 at Mission Valley High School, Eskridge. Inurnment will be at a later date in the Eskridge Cemetery. The family will receive friends at Mission Valley on Sunday, August 12, 2012 from 5:00 until 7:00 P.M. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to the Willard Children Educational Fund and sent in care of Piper Funeral Home, 714 W. Maple St, St. Marys, Kansas 66536. Online condolences may be sent to www.piperfuneralhome.com. Jason Jess Willard
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Published in Topeka Capital-Journal on Aug. 11, 2012