Gaynelle June Heath Willis, 90, of Washington Court House, Ohio died Monday, April 12, 2021, at 7:43 p.m. at Court House Manor where she had been residing since January.
Mrs. Willis was born June 11, 1930, in Sedalia, Ohio to Guy Andrew and Dorothy Estelle Badger Heath.
She was active in high school as a cheerleader, member of the band (saxophone) and possessed a beautiful voice. Following graduation from high school she attended The Ohio State University where she was a sorority member and was nominated for the homecoming court and May Queen her freshman year.
She was involved with the Lioness Club; was a volunteer for her children’s Boy Scout and 4-H clubs; was a member of Phi Beta Psi and mentored at the Children’s Home. Most exciting and memorable was in 1960, when she served as Mrs. Ohio, traveled to Florida and appeared on national TV and was among the final top ten contestants vying for Mrs. America 1960.
Mrs. Willis married Richard Robinson Willis on February 19, 1949. They celebrated 63 years of marriage before his passing on February 26, 2012. They loved to travel, entertain and especially enjoyed their time with friends and family at Rocky Fork Lake and the many years they spent the winters in Marco Island, FL.
In addition to her husband, she was preceded in death by a son, Dale Heath Willis; a brother, Dr. Norman Heath and her parents.
She is survived by three children, David (Barb) Willis of Chillicothe, Dawn (Trigg) Kuhn of Marco Island, FL and Douglas “Duke” (Kim McCoy) Willis of Washington Court House; nine grandchildren, Jim (Maricay) Willis, Jody (Nick) Vrettos, Amanda (Austin) Dickerson, Ben Willis, Alex Kuhn, Seth Kuhn, Jessica Willis, Dr. Kellie Willis (Cameron) Schwalbach, and Nick Willis and nine great grandchildren, Dora, Lydia and Neva Vrettos, Gus, Max, Noah and Roman Willis, Harper Dickerson and Boden Schwalbach.
A memorial service will be held Saturday, June 12, 2021, 11 a.m. at the Grace United Methodist Church with Mell Wickensimer, director of visitation at the church, officiating. A private burial will be held in the Washington Cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be made to a charity of the donor’s choice.
Arrangements are under the direction of the Kirkpatrick Funeral Home in Washington Court House.