Date of Birth
Date of Death
Frederick “Fred” Willis, age 76, passed away in the early morning hours of Saturday, October 28, 2017. Free from the chains the held him on earth, he is now healthy and free in Heaven. He was born August 5, 1941, in Aurora, IL, the son of proud parents, Kenton and Jane (Wilkison) Willis. Fred grew Big Rock after moving from Maple Park when he was still small. There he attended local schools and graduated with the first class of the newly named Hinckley-Big Rock High School. Fred soon answered the call of his country and enlisted into the United States Navy. His military education came from basic training at the Great Lakes Naval Base, but he served his time stationed in Norfolk, VA. Upon his honorable discharge, Fred returned to civilian life, eventually settling Montgomery for a time. It was around that time he met Ronda Stover while working as a gas station attendant at the old Mobil Station in Elburn. From those inauspicious beginnings a friendship grew into love which eventually led them down the aisle in November of 1971. Their new life began in Montgomery but they soon moved to Elburn where their son Michael was born in 1973. The welcomed home their daughter Brandie in 1981. In addition to working as a mechanic for Cecil at the Mobil Station, Fred worked at Fox River Tire in St. Charles for a time. Fred eventually retired from Hoffer Plastics in South Elgin in 2006. Fred was a proud member of the American Legion. Fred loved to socialize, stopping in to many local watering holes and never meeting a stranger. One claim to fame was the time he was in his Navy Whites, chipping paint in anticipation of a visit from the President of the United States, John F. Kennedy. This occasion surrounded a meeting with the Joint Chiefs of Staff that had to do with a certain situation in Cuba. Even that didnâ€™t even compare to the pride he had in his children and son-in-law, especially his grandchildren. Fred often took them out to lunch and tried to hit a different place each time. No lunch was complete without some Root beer and ice cream but nothing was sweeter than the precious smiles and hugs. When the holidays rolled around, Fred knew exactly what to get his grandchildren, from books to power rangers and tents, “Grandpa Santa” knew all. He is survived by his daughter Brandie (James) Self; two grandchildren: Alfred-James Self and Jenessa Gosling; one sister, Barbara A. (John) Ryan; his former wife, Ronda Downing; several cousins and a community of friends. He is preceded in death by his parents, Kenton and Jane Willis and one son Michael Willis.In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established in Fredâ€™s name. Checks may be made to the “Frederick Willis Memorial” and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, 60119. Tributes may also be forwarded to the same address, the Conley Funeral Home Facebook Page, or at www.conleycare.com.