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Charles “Earl” Willis, Jr.

Charles Earl Willis, Jr. passed away on Wednesday, November 16, 2022, at the age of 97. He was born May 15, 1925, in Syracuse, Kansas to Charles Earl and Dora Elizabeth (Quillen) Willis. When Earl was four years old, the family moved to Garden City. He attended school there and graduated from Garden City High School in 1943.  While in school, Earl worked with his father and uncle at Burtis Motor Company where he learned his trade as an auto mechanic.

After graduation, he joined the U.S. Army and at the age of eighteen, he became the head of his company’s motor pool. Earl served in Italy and was honorably discharged in 1946.  After returning home, Earl met Dorothy “Jane” Plummer on the dance floor of a wedding reception. They married on February 8, 1947, and were happily married for 70 years. Their home was in Syracuse, Kansas where Earl owned and operated Willis Auto. He was active in the community, first as a volunteer fireman and then serving twelve years as a Hamilton County Commissioner. He was a member of the Syracuse Masonic Lodge #309, Scottish Rite, and Shriners International.

Earl is survived by: three children, Chuck and his wife, Sharon, of Wadsworth, IL, Beth Butler and her husband, Mike, of Salina, KS, and Janey Redetzke and her husband, Joe, of Buena Vista, CO; five grandchildren, Jennifer Carter, AJ Redetzke, Michele Johnson, Michael Butler, and Patrick Redetzke. He was also blessed with thirteen great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his parents, wife, and a sister, Dorothy Bush.

A private family graveside service will be held, Tuesday, November 29, at the Syracuse Cemetery, where Earl will be laid to rest beside his beloved wife, Jane.

Memorial donations are suggested to the Area Mental Health Center, Garden City, KS, in care of Stockham Family Funeral Home, 205 North Chestnut, McPherson, KS 67460.

Personal condolences may be sent to the family at www.stockhamfamily.com.


Syracuse Cemetery