The Ottumwa Courier


October 22, 2012

James Willis, 80, Libertyville

LIBERTYVILLE — James C. “Jim” Willis, 80, of Libertyville, passed away peacefully and surrounded by his family Oct. 19, 2012, at the Jefferson County Health Center.

Jim was born Oct. 7, 1932, in Hannibal, Mo., to Thomas Dixon and Naomi Faye Johnson Willis.

Jim served in the U.S. Army from 1950-53, being stationed in Korea and Germany. He was honorably discharged. Jim met the love of his life, JoAnn Smith, in Lockridge while working for the C.B. and Q Railroad. They were married at the New Sweden Lutheran Church in rural Lockridge on March 6, 1955. They lived briefly in Hannibal, Mo., before moving to Jefferson County.

Jim’s career included working for the Fairfield School System as a bus mechanic and later as transportation director. He co-owned and operated Ed and Jim’s Shell Service for 15 years. He retired in 1997 from Jefferson County Mutual Insurance as a claims inspector/adjuster.

During retirement, he especially loved buying and restoring antique Farmall tractors. He and JoAnn loved car rides, especially traveling back to his beloved Missouri.

Jim served as city council member and mayor of  Libertyville. Jim was also a very active member of the Fairfield Kiwanis and was named Kiwanian of the Year in 2009. He was a member of the First Lutheran Church of Fairfield, where he served on the church council and as chairman of the property committee for many years. Jim was a member and past master of Clinton Lodge No. 15. A.F. and A.M. Masonic Lodge.

He was preceded in death by his parents; brother,  Thomas D. Willis Jr.; and father-in-law, Ralph O. Smith.

Jim is survived by JoAnn, his wife of 57 years; 2 daughters,  Patricia and husband Dennis Bisgard of Chariton and Jaqueline and husband Timothy Pacha of Fairfield; five grandchildren,  Kelly (Jason) Kent of Williamsburg, Corey (Lori) Bisgard of Ankeny, Brent (Whitney) Pacha of Richland, Cole (Chandra) Bisgard of Lincoln, Neb., and Brittany Pacha of Ames; six great-grandchildren, Macey, Carter, Nolan, Emma, Lucas and Addilyn; two sisters,  Norma Willis of Quincy, Ill., and Donna and Larry Miller of Hannibal, Mo.; and many nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be at 11 a.m. today at the First Lutheran Church in Fairfield; with Pastor John Meyer and Pastor Stacy Grau officiating. Burial will be in the New Sweden Lutheran Cemetery northwest of Lockridge.

Memorials may be made to First Lutheran Church or the New Sweden Lutheran Church and Cemetery of Lockridge.

Arrangements are in the care of the Raymond Funeral Home in Fairfield.

On-line condolences may be made to the family through

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