WILLIS – Roy Ward Willis passed away peacefully in the Stettler Hospital Complex, Aug. 11, 2008 at the age of 91. Roy is survived by his loving wife Margaret of Heart Haven Lodge, Stettler, AB, children Bob (Kathy) Willis of Stettler, Jeannie (Allan) Zinger of Coronation, AB, Alan (Carolyne) Willis of Stettler and stepson Fraser (Nora) Head of Calgary, AB. Roy is also survived by many grandchildren, great-grandchildren and one sister Kathleen Emery of Vancouver, B.C. Roy was predeceased by his father and mother Charles and Mary Willis, Melba Willis (mother of his three children), sister Isabel McEachern and stepson Murray Head. Roy was born on Dec. 9, 1916 in Stettler (the heart thereof). He was a graduate of the University of Alberta. He served in the Second World War and rose to the rank of Flight Sargeant with the Royal Canadian Air Force. Roy started working for his father Charles L. Willis at the Stettler Independent at the age of 12 and was employed there for 68 years. In 1956, Roy succeeded his father as publisher and editor of the Stettler Independent (independent but not neutral by golly), the position he proudly held for 40 years. Roy’s influence in the newspaper business was extended beyond the Stettler Independent. He served the newspaper industry locally, provincially and nationally. He was recognized by the Canadian Community Newspaper Association in 1992 with the Sydney R. Stone Award honouring dedicated community newspaper publishers. Roy was truly a great Stettlerite, Albertan and Canadian. He was dedicated to the advancement of the well-being and preservation of the heritage of his community. Roy’s responsible journalism and enthusiasm for community service made Stettler a great town. He was the first chairman of Stettler’s Town and County Fair and Chairman of Stettler’s 50th, 60th and 75th Anniversary Celebrations. He was recognized as Stettler’s First Citizen of the Year in 1955 and Stettler’s first recipient of the Town of Stettler’s Community Recognition Award in 2007. He also was an accomplished orator, speaking and introducing speakers at every major function in the town and county. One of Roy’s favourite pastimes while living at Rochon Sands was to watch and feed the birds. He was an avid conservationist concerned with the well being and stewardship of Buffalo Lake. A graveside service was held on Friday, Aug. 15 at the Lake View Cemetery followed by fellowship in celebration of his life at the C.E. Wing of the Stettler United Church. If desired donations may be made in Roy’s memory to the Stettler United Church or the Stettler Health Services Foundation, in care of Brennen Funeral Home (2001) Ltd., P.O. Box 193, Stettler, AB TOC 2L0 who were entrusted with the arrangements.

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