Mr. Ralph Eugene Willis Sr., 92, of Dalton, departed this life Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013, at Hamilton Medical Center.
Gene was born June 27, 1921, in Dalton, a son of the late Adolph Willis Sr. and Essie Mae Barrett Willis.
He was also preceded in death by his wife, Ethel Lee Taylor Willis; a son, Wendell Lee Willis; a brother, Adolph Willis Jr.; sisters, Fannie Burse, Janie Ruth Shropshire, Kathryn Denmon, Grace McKnight, Mildred Inez Sims Johnson and Flossie Watkins.
Gene was a graduate of Emery Street High School and worked many years at the Whitehead Laundry, Fashion Cleaners and Dalton Public Schools, and was retired from Southern Binders. He was a member and deacon at Liberty Baptist Church. He was a member of Masonic Lodge 238. In his younger years he loved to play tennis, baseball and hunt. He also loved to fish and spending time with his family. He was a very good piano player and loved playing for residents at Regency Park.
He is survived by his daughter and son-in-law, Karen and James (Ronnie) Shropshire of Dalton; sons and daughters-in-law, Ralph and Tammie Willis, Kenneth and Barbara Willis, all of Dalton, Monty and Jacquelyn Willis of Marietta; grandchildren, Richie Willis, Heather Willis, Tracey Famber, Taylor Willis, Job Willis, Kimberly Mitchell, Barry and Tasha Willis, Randall and LeAndre Shropshire, Zakia and Michael Banks, Monti Willis and Imani Willis; great-grandchildren, Sheriel Shropshire, Nicholas Ware, Randall Lane Shropshire Jr., Harrison Shropshire, Za’Tea Banks, Jamal Shropshire, Taylor Gage Mitchell and Barry J. Willis II; great-great-grandchildren, Kamari Shropshire, Mya Shropshire and Aryanne Shropshire; sister and brother-in-law, Eva and Hanford Stafford of Prospect, Ky.; brothers-in-law, George McKnight and Lawrence Watkins of Atlanta; several nieces, nephews, cousins and many friends.
Services to celebrate the life of Mr. Ralph Eugene Willis Sr. will be Monday at 1 p.m. at Liberty Baptist Church at 504 S. Pentz St., Dalton, with Minister Jimmy Ingram, Minister Eugene Miller, Minister Johnny Montgomery, Minister Claude Jones and Minister Floretta Watkins officiating.
He will be at the church one hour prior to the service.
Flower bearers will be members of Liberty Baptist Church. He will be laid to rest beside his beloved wife at West Hill Cemetery with John Nelson, Ben Phillips, Tracy Dillard, Jeffrey Winfrey, Jeffrey Johnson and Robert O’Neal serving as pallbearers.
The family will receive friends at Ponders Melrose Chapel from 4 to 8 p.m. Sunday and after 10 a.m. Monday until the service hour.
After the committal service the family meal will be at Dot’s Place, 2011 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. in Dalton.
Arrangements are by Ponders Melrose Chapel, 138 Melrose Drive, Dalton; (706) 226-4002.