Eugene Austin Willis
Feb. 4, 1926-Oct. 7, 2013
Pleasanton, Chico, California
Eugene Austin Willis passed away peacefully on Oct. 7. He was born to Lloyd and Margaret Willis in Ravenna, Ohio on Feb. 4, 1926.
He was greatly loved by his family and friends. His smile and compassion for everyone that he knew will never be forgotten!
Gene came to Pleasanton when he was 17 years old. He enlisted in the Navy and served his entire duty at Camp Shoemaker in Pleasanton, now known as Camp Parks.
He met his loving wife, Dolores (Dee) Willis, while getting gas and hamburgers at Dee's father's gas station and restaurant. They fell in love almost immediately and married about six months later, Valentine's Day 1946. They were married for 67 years.
Gene opened Valley Tire in 1958. It was located on the corner of Stanley Blvd. and Santa Rita Road. He owned and operated his business until 1988 when he moved to Chico, California.
His daughter, Catherine Willis, preceded him in death. She was born with spina bifida, and passed away when she was five weeks old. His grandson, Tom Self, also preceded him in death.
He is survived by his wife, Dolores Willis, and his 3 sons Tomm (Cheryl), Mike, and Denny Willis. He also leaves behind his grandchildren, Joey Willis, Dayna Willis, Scott Self (Jenn) and two great grandchildren, Tristan and Sydney Self.
Gene loved life and always lived it to the fullest! We are having a celebration of life from 1-5 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 24 at the Veteran's Hall. We hope to see you there. RIP, Papa! You will always be in our prayers and thoughts.
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From Patrick Higgins
Nov. 2, 2013
I met Gene, Delores, Tom, Mike, and Dennis when I was 13. I have very fond memories of the entire Willis family. Gene was always able to put a smile on my face. May God bless the Willis family. Love and miss you Gene. You will always be in my heart.
From Ken Pinto
Nov. 2, 2013
Gene is what you call a true friend.He was my friend for over 25yrs+. He would give you his shirt off his back.He will be missed.you will be in my Prayers tonight