Willis was born July 4, 1929, on his parent’s, John and Freida (Pertner) Monke, farm near Regent, North Dakota.
Willis was born July 4, 1929, on his parent’s, John and Freida (Pertner) Monke, farm near Regent, North Dakota. He attended grade school at a country school near his home riding his horse, Duke, there each day. He graduated from Regent High School and attended several years of veterinary school in Logan, Utah.
He returned home to work on the family farm.
On Dec. 26, 1952, he married his wife and the love of his life, Alma M. Hartman, at Zion Lutheran Church, Regent. After their honeymoon in the southwest, Willis was drafted to the Army where he served in Company F of the 44th Infantry at Ft. Lewis, Washington. They resided in Olympia, Washington, until he was honorably discharged.
They returned to North Dakota and began farming north of Regent. In 1957 their daughter, Rhonda, was born and to make school more accessible, they moved into Regent where they remained for many years.
He excelled at diversified farming with cattle and grain crops and was especially skilled at working with animals and wildlife. Willis and Alma later retired from farming and moved to Dickinson, North Dakota.
Their marriage was blessed with 55 years and Alma preceded him in death on Aug. 28, 2007. He resided in Dickinson for four more years before moving to Olathe, Kansas, to share a home with his daughter, Rhonda.
Willis enjoyed reading, wood working, building and repairing things with his hands, their many pets, horses and all wildlife. Playing, rebuilding and repairing stringed instruments and music were a source of relaxation for him and he had a natural gift for music.
Willis is survived by his daughter, Rhonda, and many loving nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, John H. and Freida J. Monke, his wife, Alma, and his brothers and sisters: Edwin, Ralph, Clara (Kraft), Alma (Sherman), Elmer, Henry, Ruth (Schemberger), Irvin and Rufus and their spouses.
A memorial service will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2016, at College Church of the Nazarene – Garrett Chapel in Olathe, Kans, with visitation following until 4:00 p.m.
To leave a message for the family, visit www.PenwellGabelOlathe.com.