John "Johnny" A. Willis, 95, of Mountain Home, died Thursday, Sept. 25, 2008, at a local hospital.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, Oct. 4, at 11 am at Mountain Home Junior High, 1600 E. 6th South St., in Mountain Home. Following the service the family will greet friends at the Masonic Hall, 320 N. 8th East St. in Mountain Home.
Johnny was born on May 13, 1913, in Gannett, Idaho, the son of Walter and Lillian Willis.
Johnny and Doris met while still in school in Glenns Ferry. They dated until 1935, when they married. Of that union they raised four children, Robert, Johnny, Shirley and Jeanne. They moved to Mountain Home in 1943 where they raised their family.
In 1940, Johnny was the Night Marshall for the City of Glenns Ferry. He later worked for the Elmore County Sheriff's Office as a deputy sheriff. In 1947, he was made the first Chief of Police in Mountain Home. He was also a long-time member of the Mountain Home Volunteer Fire Department and the First Congregational Church.
In 1952, he started a career in construction. He started working for Wilson Dodge then worked on the pipeline as a welder when the pipeline came through the Mountain Home area.
In 1962 Johnny went to work for Al Harmon at Standard Oil Company and in 1969, he worked as a custodian at the Elmore Medical Center until his retirement in 1983. From 1973 until 2007, he also cleaned the offices for Dr. Bideganeta, Dr. Starkey and Dr. Koelsch.
Johnny was involved with Boy Scouts and DeMolay for many years and enjoyed many campouts with the young men.
Johnny got his license plate "E 1" from Bob Love. Bob was deputy sheriff and had the same plate on his car. When he became sheriff he didn't have any use for his car so Johnny bought his car with the plate on it. He has had the same license plate number since 1943.
Until the late 1980s Johnny loved hunting and fishing in the Featherville area and spending time at his cabin with his family. He also enjoyed many outings at Cascade Lake with the Curt and Miller families. He also had a great love for mowing lawns and blowing snow for the neighborhood, his family said.
Johnny was initiated an Entered Apprentice Mason on April 12, 1937, passed to the Degree of Fellowcraft on May 14, 1937, and raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason on May 25, 1937. That made him a 71-year mason. He joined the York Rite Masons in 1957 and was a 51-year member. On May 27, 1978, he joined the El Korah Shrine and was a past president of the Elmore Shrine Club.
Johnny is survived by: his daughter, Shirley Ann Curt; his son, Robert (Bob) and his wife, Sue Willis; his son, Johnny Willis; nine grandsons, ten granddaughters, 16 great-grandchildren and "three and one half" great-great grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Doris; his daughter, Jeanne, and her husband, James Simono; his sisters, Janie E. Willis Thomas, Thora B. Willis, Adeline E. Willis Stewart, Lillian M. Willis Mathews, and his brother, Harold E. Willis.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donation be made to the Glenns Ferry Fidelity Lodge #80 Scholarship endowment Fund, P.O. Box 606, Glenns Ferry, ID 83623, or the Shriners Hospital for Children, Fairfax Road at Virginia Street, Salt Lake City, UT 84103-4399, or the Patient Transportation Fund, El Korah Shrine Center, 1118 W. Idaho, Boise, ID 83702.