John's Story

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John Carroll Willis, 67, was called home to heaven by his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on Wednesday, October 18, 2017, at 9:10 a.m.

John was born the eldest son of seven children to Earl Carroll Willis and Ila Darlene (Wright) Willis on December 15, 1949, in Bentonville, Arkansas. John moved with his family to Benton, Illinois at a young age and was nearly a lifelong resident.

John married the love of his life, Jacqulyn "Jackie" (Harben) Willis, on October 30, 1970. John provided for his family by working as a supervisor in the coal mines primarily in Franklin County through Old Ben and Zeigler Coal Companies. He retired from the mines and transitioned to car sales where he ran Willis Motor Company in Benton, Illinois for many years until his full retirement.

John and Jackie had two children and seven grandchildren. Son, J. Ryan Willis M.D. (Tara) and their children Lauryn (17), Luke (14) and Gabe (10). Daughter, Michelle "Mitzie" (Matt) Bowlby and their children Jordan (23), Logan (21), Will (14) and Brock (11). John's children and grandchildren were the light of his life. He loved them dearly and cherished their times together, especially cheering for them in all of their sporting events. "Papa" will be sorely missed.

John loved his Lord Jesus and was a faithful servant until his very last day on earth. He was charter member of Immanuel Baptist Church in Benton, Illinois, which recently celebrated it's 50th anniversary. He was a longtime deacon and recent chairman of the deacon body. He was the church treasurer, and was a Sunday School teacher for over 30 years. He served on nearly every committee at Immanuel at various times over the years. John loved Immanuel dearly, and considered it a blessing to be of service there.

John was an avid golfer, and member of Benton Country Club during his retirement years. His other hobbies were many, but included bowling, landscaping and gardening. John was passionate about his many and varied interests, and gave his all to each one.

John is survived by his wife, children and grandchildren. He is also survived by his younger siblings; Jerrold C. Willis M.D. (Deborah), James C. Willis (Joy), Joel C. Willis (Cindy), Jill C. Willis Butler (Richard), Jeffrey C. Willis (Elizabeth), his brother-in-law Robin Avery and sister-in-law Becky Harben along with numerous nieces and nephews.

John was preceded in death by his parents, sister Juni C. Willis Avery, his father and mother-in-law Donald Jack and Lodean (Rhine) Harben, and his brother-in-law Mark A. Harben.

Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to Pate Funeral Home, 301 S. Main St., Benton, Illinois.

Visitation will be held Saturday, October 21, 2017, from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., at the Immanuel Baptist Church, 516 North Main Street, Benton, Illinois, and from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., on Sunday, October 22, 2017, at the church.

Funeral services will be held on Sunday, October 22, 2017, 3:00 p.m., at the Immanuel Baptist Church, with Rev. Sammy Simmons, officiating.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Immanuel Baptist Church Benevolence Fund and Children's Ministry.

Online condolences can be given at www.patefh.com.
Published on October 19, 2017
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