James “Jim” Martin Willis Sr., 66, passed away Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019.
He was born on Jan. 31, 1953, in Parsons to Joe Reed and Betty Louise (Bennett) Willis.
On Aug. 21, 1976, he was united in marriage to Mary Ellen Linnebur in Parsons.
He served as a U.S. Navy airman from 1972 to 1976. He was stationed on the USS Oriskany CVA 34 in Roda, Spain, during the Vietnam War. He worked as a brakeman for the Katy Railroad for 14 years and then as a welder with CST for more than 20 years.
Jim was never one to want to work indoors. He was known to be an avid outdoorsman who loved camping and hunting, but most of all he loved fishing. There were only three things he loved more than fishing: his wife, his children and his grandchildren. Jim never missed his grandchildren’s birthday parties or Grandparent Day events. Jim was an excellent dad but an even better “Papa Willis.” He loved when his children and grandchildren were under the same roof. He was a friend to everyone he met and loved playing games. His favorite game to play at family gatherings was dominoes.
Jim is survived by his wife, Mary; three daughters, Melissa Carson and her husband, Nathan, of Joplin, Amy Powell and her husband, Jamie, of West Melbourne, Florida, and Meagan Swafford and her husband, James, of Pittsburg; a son, James Willis Jr. of Virginia Beach, Virginia; six grandchildren; and his mother, Betty Willis of Parsons.
Jim was one of seven children. Also surviving are his siblings, Steve Willis and his wife, Ginger, Marcia Ellis, Celiece Dhooghe and her husband, Ed, all of Parsons, Tina Arb and her husband, Rocky, Lynn Myers and her husband, Brad, all of Altamont, and Diane Johnson of Webb City, Missouri; a father-in-law, Al Linnebur of Parsons; and several brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law as well as a host of nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his father and mother-in-law, Nancy Linnebur.
The service will be at 10:30 a.m. Monday at Carson-Wall Funeral Home with his cousin, the Rev. Stuart Willis, officiating. Burial will follow in Memorial Lawn Cemetery with military honors given by Brown-Bishop Post No. 704, Veterans of Foreign Wars. The family will receive friends from 4 to 6 p.m. Sunday at the funeral home.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials be given to the Parsons Middle School Fishing Club. Checks must be made out to the Parsons Middle School and may be left at or mailed to the funeral home, P.O. Box 942, Parsons, KS 67357.
Friends may also leave condolences online at www.wallfuneralservices.com.