Harry A. Wills passed away on Sunday, October 30 at the Johnson City Medical Center. He leaves behind his loving widow Nancy Wills along with eight children, Glenn Wills, Laura Rasnick, Linda Wills, Robert Wills (Stephanie), Shawn Wills (Angie), Angie Dickens (Michael), Donald Wills (LeAnna), and Dennis Wills (Angie), along with their children and grandchildren, to mourn the loss of this enormous presence in their lives. The Wills grandchildren include Jacob Rasnick (Michelle), Tyler Wills, Heather Shipley, Lindsey Wills, Zack Wills, Petie and Peyton Pavusek, Locklan Wills and Aryani Wills, Kaitlin Dickens and Danielle Dickens, along with Jase Rasnick, their only great grandchild. Harry is also survived by his sisters, Shirley Kagarise (Fred), Sonya Kagarise, and Patricia Voss and special nephew, Jack Allen (Linda). Harry is preceded in death by his parents, his siblings, his cousin, Bobby Wills, and his great nephew Emmett Seth Payne.
The following scripture is the roadmap that provided Harry his compass for life as he lived out his days among us:
Mark 10: 43-45, But it shall not be this way among you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be the slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.”…
Harry lived a full and eventful life in which he achieved a great deal in a relatively short period of time. His commitment to his God, his family, his country, and his community was evident in the life of service he led during his brief 72 years.
Since Harry was one of nine children, five of whom were girls, when his father became critically ill, he felt the need to drop out of high school and enlist in the army, so he could help support his mother and siblings. During his time in the army he became a paratrooper and was able to attain his GED. When his family moved from Michigan to Tennessee, to be near his mother’s relatives, he joined them and became a permanent resident.
After marrying Nancy Eller in 1967, he became a supervisor at Burlington Industries and was eventually elected as an Alderman on Mountain City’s Board of Mayor and Alderman in the seventies. During this time, he was instrumental in helping to modernize the water system for the people of Mountain City and other areas of the county. During his last decade, he became the unofficial maintenance consultant and security personnel for several of his neighbors who needed assistance.
His most illustrious contribution and the one for which he and his wife Nancy are most revered is the adoption of eight children whom they raised to be responsible and caring adults. He not only fathered his own children, he also nurtured dozens of Little League and Senior League baseball players during his sixteen- year term as coach.
Additionally, he served several churches in his community in various roles including Sunday School teacher, Pulpit Supply, interim and substitute pastor and full-time pastor. In most of these settings he went above and beyond the many duties normally expected, with additions such as signs, out buildings, baptisteries, a van, pews, and general building and grounds improvements. At his final charge, as full-time minister, he baptized 40 young people and adults into the faith. During his last years, he preached many funerals, a task which he took seriously, for which he did research and preparation and for which he was in great demand. He did all he could to help the family lay their loved one to rest peacefully.
He also cared deeply for his wife of almost 49 years. He worked diligently alongside his daughter to help create a comfortable, accessible, and attractive home for her to live out her days. During this process, he taught his daughter many skills which she could use to help herself and her mother live independently.
This loving husband and father not only created a good and safe environment for his family during his time here, he left them a home in which they could be comfortable and proud. And finally, he left them many happy memories of a strong-willed, independent, and rugged individual with an iron clad sense of self in his beliefs, his faith, and his character, especially when it came to raising children, morals, and politics.
Well done, thou good and faithful servant, your work here is done.
The family will receive friends from 1-3:00 p.m. on Wednesday, November 2, 2016 at the Mountain City Funeral Home with the funeral service to follow at 3:00 p.m. with Pastors Mike McNutt and Bill Worley officiating. Graveside Service and Interment will follow at the Sunset Memorial Park. Pallbearers will be Harry’s sons, Robert Wills, Shawn Wills, Donald Wills and Dennis Wills, Barry Gladhill and also Jacob Rasnick, Zack Wills, Michael Dickens, Seth Payne and Aaron Payne. Honorary pallbearers are Glenn Wills, Jim Fin, Jeff Reece, Tommy Nelson, Jerry Dugger, Greg Payne, Bill Brookshire, Jack Cress, James Lefler, Marty Pennington, Hugh Slemp, McArthur Williams, Butch McGuire, Bud Crosswhite, Jim Crosswhite, Lewis ‘Abby’ Snyder, Tommy Reece, all of his ‘boys’ that he coached in baseball and special honorary pallbearer, Jase Rasnick.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Senior Heating Assistance Program, PO Box 208, Mountain City, TN 37683 or the Johnson County Cancer Support Group, c/o Flo Bellamy, 3510 Hwy 421 N, Mountain City, TN 37683
At other times, the family will receive friends at the home, 131Furnace Street, Mountain City, TN.
Condolences may be sent to the family at www.mountaincityfh.com.
The family of Harry A. Wills has entrusted his services to Mountain City Funeral Home, 224 S. Church Street, Mountain City, TN 37683.