He was born on July 15, 1927, in Chetopa to James A. and Grace (Wright) Willis. He was a 1945 graduate of Labette County Community High School in Altamont.
Following high school, he served in the U.S. Navy. Upon his honorable discharge, he returned to Southeast Kansas, where he worked at Goodrich Corp. in Miami, Okla., the Kansas Army Ammunition Plant in Parsons and Chetopa Concrete until retiring.
He attended Community Bible Church in Chetopa and was an avid participant in the community and will be missed by many.
He married Mary Ann “Peggy” Castle in 1958. They later divorced.
On Feb. 14, 1981, he married Myrna Castle in Miami, Okla. She preceded him in death on July 6, 2010.
Survivors include a son, Robert “Buddy” Willis of Oswego; two daughters, Pamela Jones of Denver and Valarie Ann Lawrence of Wichita Falls, Texas; three stepsons, Gary Castle of Kansas City, Kan., Larry Castle of Humboldt and Rick Castle of Chetopa; a stepdaughter, Regina Curnutte of Oswego; six grandchildren; 10 stepgrandchildren; six great-grandchildren; nine stepgreat-grandchildren; a brother, Glen Smith and his wife, Marilyn, of Buckeye, Ariz.; two sisters, Ruth Miller of Chetopa and Donna Benson of Lake Jackson, Texas; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.
In addition to his wife, he was preceded in death by a sister; a son, Donnie Willis; and a stepgreat-grandson.
The service will be at 10 a.m. Monday at Community Bible Church in Chetopa. Burial will be in Oak Hill Cemetery. The family will receive friends from 3 to 4 p.m. Sunday at Bath-Forbes-Hoffman Funeral Home in Chetopa. Friends may call at the funeral home after 10 a.m. on Sunday.
Memorials are suggested to Community Bible Church and may be left at or mailed to the funeral home, P.O. Box 346, Chetopa, 67336.
Online condolences may be left at www.forbeshoffman.com.