Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Gene Willis, 96, of Hot Springs passed away peacefully on December 17, 2011.

Born on November 23, 1915, Mr. Willis was the son of the late Ted and Helen Woolery Willis of Champaign, Illinois.

Mr. Willis was a 1936 graduate of the University of Illinois, as was his wife Mary Cunningham Willis, who predeceased him in 2007. The two lived in Chicago until the outbreak of World War II when Gene joined the US Navy officer corps. He completed training at Columbia University and served on the USS Valencia in the Pacific throughout the war. Mr. Willis had a long career with Graybar Electric in Illinois and later in Little Rock, where he and Mrs. Willis moved in 1961. They were parishioners at Holy Souls Catholic Church and Gene was an active member of the Little Rock stamp club. Gene was a true “Officer and Gentleman” who taught family and friends life lessons through personal example.

He is survived by his son, Brian Willis and his wife Joyce of Hot Springs; daughter, Rebecca Willis Motew of Massachusetts; grandchildren, Brittany Willis Evans, Jeffrey Motew, Matthew Motew, and Melissa Motew; and three great grandchildren.

Thursday, December 01, 2011