Lifelong Fairbanks resident Willis Everett Greimann, 79, passed into the arms of our Lord on Jan., 4, 2014, at the University of Arizona Hospital in Tucson, Ariz.
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Willis was born May 5, 1934, in Fairbanks. After graduating from Main High School, Willis enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He was a veteran of the Korean War and represented the Navy in Golden Gloves boxing. After his service, Willis returned to Alaska, where he attended the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
It was during this time that he met the love of his life, Patricia Mae Pederson. The two were married on Aug. 30, 1958, and enjoyed their lives together for more than 55 years. He started his professional career working at the Standard Garage Automobile Dealership for his parents, Paul Sr. and Flora Greimann.
Shortly after, Willis began a career in the banking industry working as a loan officer for Alaska National Bank in the commercial and mortgage lending departments. After a lengthy career as an officer and shareholder, Willis was tapped by the Alaska Division of Investments to help oversee business loans for the State of Alaska. He eventually retired in his mid 50s to enjoy the fruits of his hard work.
After retirement, Willis and Patty improved on their cabin at Harding Lake, which they built with their own hands in the late '50s. Once the Harding Lake home was finished, they spent the next 20 years of their lives living at Harding Lake during the summer months and at their winter home in Green Valley, Ariz.
Willis was always active in Fairbanks, serving many years with the Fairbanks Kiwanis, Fairbanks Rotary, Jaycees, the Fairbanks Downtown Association and the Pioneers of Alaska Igloo #4. For years, his Friday luncheons were spent with his fellow P.O.E.T.S. brethren.
A special mention should be made regarding Willis' love of ice hockey and his involvement with the Fairbanks youth and adult hockey associations. From the early '70s to the mid '90s, Willis was either coaching, officiating or playing hockey in the Fairbanks area. Willis was particularly passionate about the ice rinks he built every winter behind the family homes on Gregory Street and then later on Talkeetna Street. These rinks were a source of enjoyment for family, friends and neighbors for close to 15 years.
Another passion of Willis and Patty's was world travel. Special trips (primarily during the winter months) were made to locations such as Australia, Fiji, China, Europe, Peru and many destinations in between. In recent years, they spent much of their time traveling and exploring locales within their beloved state of Alaska.
Willis was an accomplished runner, participating in adult distance races during a 20-year span. As part of the Alaska Airlines running team, Willis participated in races in Alaska, California and Australia. He consistently was a top finisher in his age groups, winning several of his races in the Midnight Sun Run, Pedro Monument races and Arizona Senior Olympics. Some of his greatest memories were those of running in these races with his wife, Patty, son, Todd, and grandchildren, Tanner and Kendyl Greimann.
Willis was preceded in death by his parents, Paul and Flora Greimann; brother, Malcolm Greimann, and sister, Katherine (Greimann) Hummel.
He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Patricia Greimann, of Harding Lake; son, Todd Greimann, and his wife, Jennifer Greimann, of Denver; grandson, Tanner Greimann, of Juneau; granddaughter, Kendyl Greimann, of Denver; brother, Paul Greimann Jr., and wife, Agnes Greimann, of Anchorage; sister, Judy (Greimann) Moore, and her husband, Jim Moore, of Soldotna; and brother-in-law, Jack Hummel, also of Soldotna.
In light of Willis' love for the local hockey community, the family requests donations be made in his name to the Fairbanks Youth Hockey Association P.O. Box 72712 Fairbanks, AK 99707.
A celebration of life for Willis will be held this summer in Fairbanks.
Published in Daily News-Miner on Jan. 14, 2014