Cover photo for Ronald A. Willis's Obituary
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1936 Ronald 2017

Ronald A. Willis

January 19, 1936 — January 5, 2017

Ronald Alfred Willis, 80, passed away peacefully at his home on Thursday, Jan. 5, 2017, from mesothelioma. He was diagnosed in June, granting him the gift of time with family and friends to say his goodbyes and put his affairs in order.

He was born Jan. 19, 1936 in Richland Center, WI to Alfred and Isabelle Willis. He was raised in Richland Center and graduated from Richland Center High School. After graduation, Ron joined the army and spent 1 1/2 years in Germany with an army engineer bridge company where he cleared post-WWII rubble. Upon discharge he took advantage of the GI Bill and attended college - first at Platteville, then at UW Madison, where he graduated in 1962 with bachelor's degrees in geology and meteorology.

On Sept. 1, 1961, Ron married Maripat Dale, also from Richland Center, and in 1962 began his career in meteorology with the National Weather Service at the forecast office in Minneapolis, MN. While living in Minneapolis, Ron and Maripat's daughters Nancy and Julie were born. During the next nearly 30 years, Ron's career took the family to Michigan, Wake Island (in the central Pacific), Fairbanks, AK, Fresno, CA, back to Fairbanks, and finally back to Minneapolis, where he retired in 1991.

Upon retirement, Ron and Maripat built a home north of Stoddard, overlooking the Mississippi River, where they enjoyed 24 years. Ron continued to pursue his lifelong interests of camping, canoeing, and jogging. He also began playing golf, took piano lessons, and became very active in the Stoddard United Methodist Church, in addition to the Retired Federal Employees organization, NARFE. In the fall of 2015, Ron and Maripat built a new home in Stoddard.

Ron was preceded in death by his parents, and is survived by his wife Maripat, children Nancy (Paul) Skoglund and Julie (Grant) Johnson, half brother Alan Willis, grandchildren Jennifer, Emily and Nicholas Johnson, and Madeline and Sean Skoglund, and many close family members and friends.

Ron loved his family and friends dearly, and they will all miss his clever wit and great sense of humor. He was dependable, fair, humble, a role model to many, caring, loyal, hard working and organized, disciplined, adventurous, and steady. Ron was a quiet man of faith, which was evident by how he lived his life. Throughout his life he took advantage of the opportunities presented to him to build a good life for his family, and inso doing, was a wonderful son, husband, and father, and an all around "good guy". Ron knew what was important in life.

A memorial service will be held at the new Stoddard United Methodist Church on 900 Broadway Street on Saturday, January 21, 2017 at 11 am, with visitation beginning at 10 am. Reverend Banze Kyabuntu will officiate, and a private family burial will be at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to the Stoddard United Methodist Church. Seland Funeral Home in Coon Valley is assisting with the arrangements.

The family would like to thank Mayo Clinic Hospice for their loving care during Ron's final weeks.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Ronald A. Willis, please visit our flower store.

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