WILLIS, Pastor Joseph Willard Of Middletown, went to be with his Lord on Sunday, July 29, 2018, after a short illness. He was born in Ironton, Ohio on March 1, 1928 to parents Joseph and Irene (Fields) Willis. Ordained as a Baptist pastor at the age of 21, he faithfully served the Lord Jesus till his passing at age 90. He was born and raised in the hill country of Lawrence County, Ohio, where he grew up with four brothers on a small farm during the Great Depression. It was during these years of hard work and deprivation that he developed a lifelong love and care for others. Following a year at Ohio State, he married the love of his life, Wanda Jean Lewis from Kitts Hill, Ohio. They were married for 70 years until his departure. He worked for Armco Steel for 42 years, starting as a laborer in Ashland, Kentucky and later transferred to the Middletown operation where he worked in the General Office. He was so very thankful for his years with Armco and the camaraderie of his fellow workers. In many ways he was a "circuit riding" preacher, preaching the Word at the church in Middletown on Sunday morning, then to a little country church in Indiana Sunday afternoon, then on to another country church near Columbus in the evening. He continued this circuit for many years because of his love for the Lord and the people. In later years, he began combining his messages with continued Bible study into a total of 18 books on various books of the Bible plus topical studies. He lived his life to point folks to the Lord Jesus. He simply wanted to be an instrument in the hand of the Lord. Mr. Willis is survived by his loving wife of 70 years, Wanda Jean (Lewis) Willis; son, Gary (Laura) Willis; daughter, Peggy O'Neil; brothers, Emerson (Alice) Willis, Carlos (Georgia) Willis & Morton (Betty) Willis; sister-in-law, Marie Wills; grandchildren, Ryan O'Neil, Aaron (Holly) Willis, Paul (Jessica) Willis & Don (Amanda) Willis; great grandchildren, Andy, Claire, Rosa & Deagan; and numerous nieces & nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents and brother, Don Willis. Funeral Service will be held Thursday, August 2, 2018 at 1:00 pm at Wilson-Schramm-Spaulding Funeral Home, 3805 Roosevelt Blvd., Middletown with Pastor Paul Miller officiating. Visitation will be prior to the service from 11:00 am - 1:00 pm. Interment will be at Mound Cemetery. Please sign the guestbook online at WilsonSchrammSpaulding.com
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