J Vern Willis III 1947-2021

J Vern Willis III passed away July 13, 2021, at the age of 74, after a valiant 14-year battle with prostate cancer. He was born June 27, 1947, in Yuma, Arizona, the eldest son of Barbara and J Vern Willis Jr. As the son of an Air Force officer, J lived all throughout the United States. He graduated from Middle Georgia College with a degree in General Science. He joined the US Navy in 1969, where he served aboard the USS Dixon (Plank Owner) and the USS Ponchatoula, refueling the Seventh Fleet off the coast of Vietnam. After being honorably discharged, J returned to school to study data processing.

In 1981, J met Karen Rupert through mutual friends in Lafayette, California. They were married one year later. Amanda, Matthew and Andrew joined the family over the next seven years. Both J and Karen had roots in the Pacific Northwest, so they made the journey to McMinnville, Oregon, in 1990. J immediately went to work for Evergreen International Aviation, where he stayed with the company for 23 years before retiring in 2013. He volunteered with Boy Scout Troop 260 and loved hiking and camping. One of his fondest memories with the troop was made on the Bowron Lake Canoe Circuit in British Columbia in 2003. During the past ten years, travel became his passion, and he thoroughly enjoyed planning wonderful vacations. He was able to cross off several destinations on his bucket list. Some of these trips included the whole family and those memories brought him pleasure until the very end.

J is survived by his wife of 39 years, Karen; daughter, Amanda (Adam); sons, Matthew (Sarah) and Andrew (Whitney); and his adorable grandchildren, Charlotte and Sawyer, who loved their Pop Pop dearly. He was predeceased by his parents and brother, Frederick Willis.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a memorial contribution to Legacy Hospice. To donate online, visit legacyhealth.org/giving and click Donate. If you prefer, donations may be mailed to Legacy Health Foundation, P.O. Box 4484, Portland, OR 97208. Please mention Hospice, in memory of J Willis. Family burial will be private. To leave online condolences, please visit www.macyandson.com


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