Willard Ellsworth Millis
October 31, 1920 - January 23, 2014
Willard Millis died in Waterville, Maine, on January 23, 2014.
Born in Westford, Massachusetts, he was one of five children born to Ruth and Willard Nathaniel Millis.
He was known as Elsie, Uncle Bill, Grandpa Bill, or simply Bill. He married Anita Bryand in 1940, a marriage that continued until her death in 2004. They had one son, Willard E. Millis, Jr., of Waterville, Maine.
Bill was a veteran of both WWII and the Korean Conflict.
Early in his life, he worked as a machinist, truck driver, and mechanic, although many knew him as the RFD carrier in Harvard or as the owner of Millis Machine Shop, where he and his wife repaired small engines. Bill was an extremely talented craftsman and could make, if needed, virtually anything out of metal. He also had other somewhat unusual skills, such as being able to ride a bike backwards. Later in life, he also became a talented cook, with apple pies from an old family recipe being his specialty. Perhaps his greatest skill was making people laugh. His sense of humor was always with him, even during his last years.
Bill moved to Harvard in 1946 and always considered that his home, even after illness prompted his move to Maine in 2006. He and Anita opened their home to numerous family cookouts around their pool. It was there that many of the younger generation learned to drive on one of Bill's numerous tractors or riding lawnmowers. Bill and Anita also developed many friendships through their enjoyment of their motor home. For many years, winters would see them leaving Harvard for the warmth of Florida. Following his stroke in 2006, he was no longer able to drive and as a result moved to Park Residences in Waterville to be near his son. There he soon became known for his friendliness as well as for his fondness for the bacon served with his huge breakfast each morning. Bill never seemed to complain about the difficulties that he faced as he aged. Perhaps the singular exception was when well-meaning nurses tried to pass off turkey bacon as the real thing.
Bill is survived by his son, Willard Jr. and daughter-in-law, Martha of Sidney, Maine; grandson, Benjamin and his wife, Sara of Leicester, England; granddaughter, Kendra of Sidney; great-grandchildren, Emma, James, and Tom; and by his brother, Frank Millis of Ayer, Massachusetts.
MILLIS -- Donations in Bill's honor can be made to the Harvard Council on Aging, 13 Ayer Road, Harvard, MA. Visiting hours will be held at Badger Funeral Home in Littleton, Massachusetts, on Thursday, January 30 from 2-4 P.M. and 6-8 P.M. A private interment will be held at a later date. Please see www.badgerfuneral.com
Published in Nashoba Publishing on Jan. 31, 2014