Elvin Wills

COAL CITY—Elvin “Whitey” Wills, 91, of Coal City, passed away Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017 at the Joliet Area Community Hospice Home with his family by his bedside.
Elvin was born June 10, 1926 to John and Ethel Jackson Wills, second son of seven brothers, in a rural house on Spring Road. He went to the Sulphur Springs School for eight years where he was the only person in his class. He graduated 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 did all his life. He farmed for his father and raised 3,000 head of ducks from chicks up to laying hens where they sold duck eggs for many years until the hatchery went out of business. They also had a saw mill where they sawed logs into lumber and cut props and caps for the South Willy Mine until it closed down. He worked on the G&M Railroad on Saturdays and Sundays for two years beginning in 1945.
On April 19, 1949, Elvin married Dorothy Favero, daughter of Mary and Tom Favero, at the Assumption Church in Coal City. They lived in Coal City the first years when he worked for the Coal City Post Office walking and carrying mail. In 1950, they rented and then owned a farm on Spring Road just a half mile from where he was born and a fourth mile from where he went to school. They lived there for 45 years. Elvin sold Pioneer Seed Corn for 35 years retiring in 1989 and turned it over to his son, Mark.
In 2011, Elvin received a life-time membership to the Coal City Lions for his 50 years in the club. He was president for two terms and held many other offices. He was awarded the Melvin Johns Award, one of the highest awards in Lions.
In 2013, Elvin was 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.
He was on the Sulphur Springs School Board for many years until they consolidated and joined Coal City Unit #1, where he served on the Coal City High School Board for 23 years and was on the planning committee, building the new high school. Elvin was also on the planning committee for the Grundy County Vocational School and served as chairman from 1970-1972.
Elvin was a life member of the Sulphur Springs Arbor of Gleaner Life Insurance and held many offices in the Arbor. He was on the Gleaner Board of Directors from 1977-1999. He also got two Fraternalist Awards from the Gleaners for his outstanding work.
Elvin worked for Thomas McLuckie for many years laying field tile in the summer and fall until 1988 when Mr. McLuckie passed away. 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 3,000 heads of hogs a year until retiring in 1989, turning the operation over to his son.
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. He served as a trustee for Maine Township for many years. He was an avid fisherman and gardener. He loved bowling in his younger years and started golfing after he retired.
Elvin is survived by 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) Wills, of Chicago and Emmy McIntire and Trevor McIntire, both of Coal City; four great-grandchildren: Cameron and Norah Minuth and Ethan and Brayden Wills; sisters-in-law: Esther Wills and Martha Jean Walker, both of Coal City and Marge (John) Broucek, of Braceville, as well as numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.
Elvin was preceded in death by his parents and brothers: Leonard (Dorothy), Kenneth (Marge), John Jr. and Donald Wills.
Cremation rites have been accorded.
The family will receive friends on Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017 from 8:30 a.m. until time of memorial service at 11 a.m. at Reeves Funeral Home, 75 N. 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 and memorial services have been made under the direction and care of Reeves Funeral Homes, Ltd. in Coal City.