Cover photo for Ernest Edward Willis's Obituary
Ernest Edward Willis Profile Photo

Ernest Edward Willis

March 10, 1934 — October 24, 2023

Canton

Ernest Edward Willis

Ernest Edward Willis, beloved husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, passed away on Tuesday, October 24, 2023, at his residence in Haywood County. He was born on Saturday, March 10, 1934, in Haywood County to Lee Edward and Lucy Mauney Willis.

Ernest graduated from Canton High School in 1953 before embarking on a fulfilling career. He was employed with Champion Papers in the Maintenance Department, where he dedicated his time and expertise for many years.

During his early adulthood, Ernest served his country with pride as a member of the United States Navy during the Korean War. His dedication and bravery exemplified his strong sense of patriotism.

Outside of work and military service, Ernest led a life filled with passion, hobbies, and accomplishments. An avid deer hunter and outdoorsman, he cherished the tranquility of nature and found solace in spending time surrounded by its beauty.  One of Ernest's proudest accomplishments was coaching Little League Baseball in Canton for an astonishing 14 years. He firmly believed in the power of sports to shape young lives positively. Through his coaching efforts, he provided guidance and support to countless children within the community.

In his personal life, Ernest shared 68 years of happiness with his devoted wife, Sue Tabor Willis. Their marriage stood as a testament to love's enduring power and brought joy to all who knew them. Together they created a loving home filled with warmth and laughter.

Ernest is survived by his loving wife Sue Tabor Willis; their children: Patti Burnette (and her husband Kelly), Michael Willis (and his wife Brenda), Tim Willis (and his wife Lynne); two sisters: Bertha Brown and Peggy Carson; five grandchildren; and thirteen great-grandchildren.

Ernest was predeceased by his parents, Lee Edward and Lucy Mauney Willis, as well as his son Robert Lee Willis, who passed away in 1987. He also joins two siblings who have gone before him.

A funeral service will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Friday, October 27, 2023 in the Canton Chapel of Wells Funeral Home with Reverend David Green officiating.  Burial will follow at Crawford/Ray Memorial Gardens with military honors conducted by the United States Navy.  The family will receive friends from 11:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. at the funeral home. 

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN  38105.

The passing of Ernest Edward Willis has left a void in the hearts of those who loved him. His legacy as a supportive husband, dedicated father, inspirational coach, and cherished friend will forever be remembered.

The care of Mr. Willis has been entrusted to Wells Funeral Home of Canton and an online memorial register is available at "Obituaries" at www.wellsfuneralhome.com.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Ernest Edward Willis, please visit our flower store.

Past Services

Visitation

Friday, October 27, 2023

11:45am - 12:45 pm (Eastern time)

Wells Funeral Home - Canton

3715 Asheville Highway, Canton, NC 28716

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Funeral Service

Friday, October 27, 2023

1:00pm - 2:00 am (Eastern time)

Canton Chapel of Wells Funeral Home

3715 Asheville Hwy, Canton, NC 28716

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Ernest Edward Willis

Friday, October 27, 2023

Starts at 1:00 pm (Eastern time)

Wells Funeral Home - Canton

3715 Asheville Highway, Canton, NC 28716

Livestream

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Burial

Friday, October 27, 2023

Crawford Ray Memorial Gardens, Clyde

NC

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