James Robert "Jim" Willis (1931 - 2014)

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  • "Sorry to hear of your passing RIP High school class..."
    - Norman Baggett
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James Robert "Jim" Willis, 83, of Decatur, formerly of the Mulberry Grove area, passed away on Sunday, Dec. 14, 2014, in Decatur Memorial Hospital, surrounded by his loving family.
Services will be held at 10 a.m. on Friday at Tabernacle Baptist Church in Decatur. Visitation will be held from 4-7 p.m. on Thursday at Brintlinger and Earl Funeral Home in Decatur. Graveside services will be held at 2:30 p.m. on Friday in Griffith Cemetery in rural Brownstown, next to his first wife, Iris. Memorials: Good Samaritan Inn, 920 N. Union St., Decatur, Ill. 62522. Condolences may be shared at www.brintlingerandearl.com.
Mr. Willis was born on Jan. 30, 1931, in Bond County, around Mulberry Grove, the son of Roy and Bessie (Bolyard) Willis.
He married Iris Smith in July 1955; she preceded him in death in November 1989. Jim was blessed to find love again and married Joan Dee (Dunn) Turner on Dec. 1, 1993. He then took on the role of stepfather to Annie's five adult children and Papa Jim to her grandkids and great-grandkids.
Jim graduated from Mulberry Grove High School in 1949, and served with the Army, driving tanks during the Korean War. He retired from Caterpillar in 1986 after 36 years of service. His last 15 years at Caterpillar, he worked in tool design. He enjoyed golfing until his late 70s and then was content to sit on the front porch and enjoy the comings and goings of his street. Up until his death, he and Mom still enjoyed going to Tabernacle Baptist Church and Arthur on Wednesday nights to listen to "jams," bluegrass and gospel music.
He is survived by his wife, Annie; stepchildren, Lynette and her husband Roger Tate, Floyd Leon Turner and his wife Rita, Cheryl Peters, Kathy Allen and Tony Turner and his wife Sherry; 12 stepgrandchildren; 14 great-stepgrandchildren; sisterss Doris Lamkey of Riverton and Betty Willis of Springfield; brothers, John Willis and his wife Lou, and Don Willis of Brownstown; brothers-in-law, Joe Smith and his wife Ruby of Arizona, Bob Smith and his wife Margie of Georgia, Brad Dunn and his wife Barb of Decatur, Frank Dunn and his wife Judy of Michigan, and Jay Dunn and his wife Cheryl of Decatur; sisters-in-law, Blanche and her husband B.C. Fowler of Georgia, Vonnie Turner of Decatur, Barbara Molen of Modesto and Helen Dunn of Mt. Zion; and many nieces and nephews.
Jim was preceded in death by parents; first wife; brother, Raymond; sister Francis, sister-in-law Norma Willis, and brother-in-law Charlie Lamkey.
Jim was well loved and will be greatly missed.
Funeral Home
Brintlinger and Earl Funeral Homes - Decatur
2827 N. Oakland Ave.
Decatur, IL 62526
(217) 875-1283
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Published in The Leader-Union from Dec. 16 to Dec. 24, 2014
bullet Korean War bullet U.S. Army