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Elvin W. WillsJune 10, 1926 ~ December 5, 2017 (age 91)
Elvin “Whitey” Wills
Age 91 of Coal City, passed away Tuesday, December 5, 2017 at the Joliet Area Community Hospice Home with his family by his bedside.
Born June 10, 1926, Elvin Wesley was the second son of seven born to John and Ethel (Jackson) Wills, in a rural house on Spring Road. He attended the Sulphur Springs School for eight years, the only person in his class, and went on to graduate from Coal City High School with the Class of 1944.
Elvin was called to service in 1945, but was sent home because he was a farmer, which he continued to do his entire life.
Elvin farmed for his father and raised 3,000 head of ducks from chicks up to laying hens. The family sold duck eggs for many years until the hatchery went out of business. They also operated a saw mill where they sawed logs into lumber, as well as cut props and caps for the South Willy Mine until it closed. Elvin also during this timeframe worked on the G&M Railroad on Saturdays and Sundays for two years beginning in 1945.
It was on April 19, 1949 that Elvin married Dorothy Favero, who was a daughter of Mary and Tom Favero. Together they were married in the Assumption Catholic Church in Coal City, and lived in Coal City their first year of marriage, while Elvin worked for the Coal City Post Office walking and carrying mail.
In 1950, Elvin and Dorothy rented, before owning the farm on Spring Road just ½ mile from where he was born and ¼ mile from where he went to school. It was here that he and Dorothy lived for the following 45 years.
Elvin farmed with his brother Norman Wills for a few years, then in 1975 he went in to partnership with his son Mark. Together they put in a hog confinement building where they raised 3000 heads of hogs a year. He also sold Pioneer Seed Corn for 35 years. In addition, Elvin worked for Thomas McLuckie for many years laying field tile in the Summer and Fall until 1988 when Mr. McLuckie passed away. In 1989 Elvin retired, and it was at that time he turned the farm and seed corn sales operations over to his son, Mark.
Elvin was a committeeman for the United States Agricultural Government in 1960 and 1970 and worked measuring, setting aside acres and also measured grain bins for the government.
Elvin served on the Sulphur Springs School Board for many years until they consolidated and joined Coal City Community Unit School District #1. He then held a position on the School Board for 23 years and was part of the planning committee, which built the new high school. Elvin was also on the planning committee for the Grundy County Vocational School and served as chairman from 1970-1972. He was elected as a Trustee for Maine Township for many years.
In 2011, Elvin received a life-time membership to the Coal City Lions for his 50 year of dedication to the club. During his tenure, he served as president for 2 terms; held many other offices, and was granted the Melvin Jones Fellowship. In 2013, Elvin was also honored for his 50 year membership with the Grundy County Farm Bureau, where he served on the board from 1966-1977, as well as received the Coal City Community Service Award.
A life member of the Sulphur Springs Arbor of Gleaner Life Insurance, Elvin held many offices in the Arbor. He was on the Gleaner Board of Directors from 1977-1999, and received two Fraternalist Awards from the Gleaners for his outstanding work.
Elvin was an avid fisherman and gardener, who loved bowling in his younger years, and started golfing after he retired.
Survivors include his wife of 68 years, Dorothy; son Mark (Penny) Wills and daughter, Debbie (Fred) Ruetz, both of Coal City. Two brothers: Norman (Joanne) Wills of Wisconsin and Paul (Emilie) Wills of Coal City; six grandchildren: Kerrie (Shawn) Minuth of Coal City, Crystal (Ashley) Wills of Florida, Kelley (Ted) Deahl of Indiana, Katie (John) Jones of Chicago, and Emmy McIntire and Trevor McIntire, both of Coal City; four great grandchildren: Cameron and Norah Minuth, and Ethan and Brayden Wills, and sisters-in-law: Esther Wills and Martha Jean Walker, both of Coal City and Marge (John) Broucek of Braceville.
Elvin was preceded in death his parents; brothers: Leonard (Dorothy) Wills, Kenneth (Marge) Wills, John Wills, Jr. and Donald Wills.
Cremation rites have been accorded.
The family will receive friends on Saturday, December 16, 2017 from 8:30 a.m. until time of memorial service 11:00 a.m. at Reeves Funeral Home, 75 North Broadway (one block north of Illinois Route 113) in Coal City. Reverend Brad Shumaker from Coal City United Methodist Church will officiate.
Inurnment will be in Mount Olivet Cemetery in Wilmington at a later date.
Preferred memorials in lieu of flowers may be made as gifts in Elvin’s memory to the Coal City Lions Scholarship Fund, Gleaner Life Insurance Scholarship Fund or to Joliet Area Community Hospice.
Family and friends may sign the guest book, upload photographs or share Elvin’s memorial page online by logging onto: www.ReevesFuneral.com
Cremation services and memorial arrangements have been made under the direction and care of Reeves Funeral Homes, Ltd. in Coal City. (815-634-2125)