John H. Willis (1946-2011)

For those who knew my dad or our family, this will be published in our local paper Tuesday morning. I’m posting it here for family and friends around the country who may not be here to see it. Many thanks to everyone who has already reached out. Though time hasn’t allowed us to respond, your support means more to our family than we can express. –Brad


John H. Willis

John Willis, Grayton Beach, 2010

John H. Willis, 64, of Springfield, Missouri died November 26, 2011. Born on Christmas Eve 1946 in Houston, Texas, Willis spent most of his adult life in Springfield where he married, founded a business, and raised a family.

A lover of games and an avid golfer, Willis spent some of his happiest moments in friendly competition with the people he loved. Though he earned a reputation for thriftiness, he leaves behind a legacy of generosity that knew no bounds. A man of quick wit, hearty laughter, and genuine empathy, Willis leaves behind countless family members and friends who admired his drive and spirit.

He is survived by his wife of 41 years, Jo Ann; son Brad and his wife Michelle; son Jeff and his wife Cindy; four adored grandsons; a mother-in-law he loved like his own mother, Ann; a treasured family of brothers, sisters, nieces, and nephews; and a wide circle of friends he held dear.

The family will receive visitors Tuesday, November 29 from 5-7pm in the Chapel of the Klingner-Cope Family Funeral Home at Rivermonte, 4500 S. Lone Pine Rd., Springfield, MO, 65804 (417-887-1929). Graveside services will be held Wednesday November 30 at 11am at Rivermonte Memorial Gardens at the same address.

Donations in John Willis’ memory can be made to Boys and Girls Town of Missouri online at (Southwest Missouri/Springfield Jim D. Morris Campus), by mail at 1212 W. Lombard, Springfield, Missouri 65806, or by phone (417-865-1646).

Brad Willis

Brad Willis is a writer based in Greenville, South Carolina. Willis spent a decade as an award-winning broadcast journalist. He has worked as a freelance writer, columnist, and professional blogger since 2005. He has also served as a commentator and guest on a wide variety of television, radio, and internet shows.

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23 Responses

  1. Ten Mile says:

    Very sorry to hear this. Strength to you and the family.

  2. Tom says:

    Beautifully written, Brad. Thinking about you and your family.

  3. Kevin says:

    Brad, so sorry to hear about your father. My thoughts are with you and your family.

  4. Lisa Ladd says:

    So sorry for your loss. Thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family.

  5. Susan says:

    Thank you for posting, Bradley. Wish I could be there but know that I am sending so much love your way. My thoughts are with you and the rest of the Willis family.

  6. Marlana Howerton says:

    This is beautiful, Brad! I am so sorry for your loss. Praying for you and your family.

  7. Earl says:


    I only know you from reading your writing. My condolences to you and your family.


  8. Simone says:


    I am so sorry to hear about the passing of your dad. You and your family are in my prayers.

    Simone Blake

  9. Whims says:

    Dear Brad and Family,

    You are in our thoughts and prayers.

    The Whims Family

  10. Shawn Sparks says:

    Brad and family,

    Sincere condolences for your loss. Thoughts and prayers heading to G Vegas.

    Shawn Sparks

  11. Martha Durham says:

    We are all so sorry. Much love from Martha, Bruce, Max and Doug

  12. Joe Ruzicka says:

    Hey buddy,
    I’m sorry for what happened. My best wishes goes out to all you Willises.

  13. Moriah (Gugel) Newberry says:

    That was beautiful Brad. I cannot express my sorrow. I am praying for you all to find peace. RIP Mr. Willis. You are and always will be greatly missed.


  14. Janice says:

    Sending you love and strength as you celebrate his life and legacy.

  15. Skip says:

    A perfectly written summary of a great man, whom I’d only met a few times, but those were all that were needed to see who had molded you and Jeff into the great men you both are today. I wish I could be there for you all today. Sending you prayers for strength and peace.

  16. Curtis says:

    See your brother, your wife, your sons, and yourself and see your Dad’s success in life. He was successful indeed.

  17. Dear Brad,
    We are friends of Jeff and Cindy. Your tribute to your father was incredibly beautiful. Our hearts go out to you and your family, to Jeff and Cindy and most of all to your Mother. Hunter and Claudia Judson

  18. Mark & Rebecca Martin says:

    Mark and I were surprised to hear the sad news. We have been neighbors with your parents for several years and always enjoyed visiting with them. Your father was truly a great man and will be missed by many. Our prayers will be with you and your family during this difficult time.

  19. Pam Sullivan says:

    Condolences to you and your entire family. May the memories of your father bring joy to all of you as you go through this rough time.

  20. Jeff says:

    So sorry to hear of your loss. I just lost my father two weeks ago too. He was in poor health for a long time, but it doesn’t make it any easier to let him go. His passing, however, has reunited friends, family, and long lost acquaintances and I know that nothing in this world would have made him happier than to know that he was the catalyst to mend broken or forgotten relationships.

    I hope the gatherings that result from your father’s passing will be equally as full of love, joy, and happy memories as ours were.

    Thinking of you and your family…

  21. Da Goddess says:

    I am so very sorry and heartbroken for you and your family. I remember your fear years back…I remember how you managed to bring together people who had never met your dad and encouraged us to encourage him during his recovery. So we did that. And now we encourage you to keep on, to take the time to heal from the pain, to give your family the same love and care your dad gave you…to keep the tradition and your father’s memory alive.

    Again, I am sorry beyond words.

    You are all in my thoughts and prayers.

  22. Carrie (Wolfe) Aho says:

    I just heard about your dad’s passing and wanted to extend my deepest and most heartfelt sympathy to you and your family. Your dad was an amazing man, so extremely driven and passionate. You are all in our thoughts and prayers. Congrats on the half marathon. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Sending you big hugs…

  23. Mike Francis says:

    Sorry to hear about what happened – my sympathies to you. It isn’t easy – I lost my dad earlier this year as well. That was a wonderfully well-written piece.