LYNN, MASS. – H. Jack Willis, 87, devoted husband, loving father, and enthusiastic grandfather, passed away July 29, 2014, surrounded by his family.
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Jack was born in Haysi, Virginia, in the Appalachian Mountains, on October 4, 1926, as a good-natured middle child with ten brothers and sisters.
He joined the U.S. Navy in 1944 and was stationed on board the USS Carnelian as it conducted experiments on newly developed sonar technologies. He married Georgianna (Dolores) Jean Dow, of Swampscott, Massachusetts, on February 3, 1945. As they raised their four children in Swampscott, Jack worked as a salesman for Lynn Auto Parts, Hunt-Marquardt Auto Supply, and Victor Auto Supply. He was also an accomplished sign, truck, and boat letterer, often working in gold leaf. Jack was a church deacon, a Free Mason, and a member of the Eastern Star, where he served as Worthy Patron. Soon after his wife's death in 1982, Jack moved to New Hampshire to be close to his family. He never remarried. Jack was known for his quick wit, charm, disarming humor, and generosity.
He is survived by his children and their spouses: Craig Willis and Joanna Shichkin of Allenstown, Dana and Patricia Willis of Boscawen, and Robert and Nancy Hendy of Loudon, New Hampshire, as well as by Cathy Willis of Concord, New Hampshire, widow of his eldest son Jack B. Willis. H. Jack also leaves eight grandchildren; Holly, Melissa, Mathew, Caitlin, Audrey, Jessica, and John Willis, and Noah Hendy; two step-grandchildren; Kellie Denoncourt, and Sally Small; four great-grandchildren, and six step-great-grandchildren.
Calling hours from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. will be followed by a Masonic funeral ceremony in the Solimine Funeral Home, 67 Ocean Street (Rt 1A), Lynn, Massachusetts on Friday, August 1. Burial will be in Swampscott Cemetery.
Jack's entire family expresses heartfelt thanks to the nurses and staff of the Merrimack County Nursing Home for their kind and compassionate care during Jack's yearlong stay with them.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the McKenna Fund at the Merrimack County Nursing Home, 325 Daniel Webster Highway, Boscawen, New Hampshire 03303. Directions and guestbook at solimine.com
Solimine Funeral Homes
67 Ocean Street
Lynn, MA 01902
Published in The Concord Monitor on July 31, 2014