Obituaries Archive

Obituaries » Donald R. Willis

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August 12, 1941 - February 14, 2021

In accordance with his wishes, cremation has taken place and a graveside service, with full military honors will take place at Fort Custer National Cemetery in the near future. Memorial contributions may be made to First Baptist Church of Portage, care of the funeral home. Family and friends are encouraged to leave a condolence message.

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Donald Willis, age 79 passed away on Sunday, February 14, 2021. He was born in Marion, Ohio on August 12, 1941, the son of Robert and Viola (Winnen) Willis. After graduating high school, Don joined the United States Army and served our country for 20 years. He traveled all over the world. After being honorably discharged in 1978, he began another adventure. Don was instrumental in the development of a company called AutoShack which would eventually become AutoZone. As a distribution manager Don would continue to travel. Tennessee, Texas, Louisiana, and Ohio were just some of the places Don called home as AutoZone centers began to grow. There cannot be enough emphasis on the love Don had for family and friends. He loved to cook! It brought him joy to entertain and cook for others. Anyone who knew Don would agree his personality and sense of humor was magnetic. He loved yard sales and not just to buy and sell, but the social connection with people brought him happiness. Don loved Church, and his passion for cooking and people was evident there also.  He enthusiastically looked forward to preparing the Men’s breakfast.  Don’s fondest memories took place in Boston Massachusetts as a young man, and as an adult San Antonio Texas.  His son, Michael Willis has so many stories that space does not allow for them all. He leaves to cherish his memory his son Michael Willis, brother Paul Willis, sister Sue Willis, sister Dorothy Willis, and sister Lou Labor, along with close, long-time friend Frances Thompson.