The People's Tribune

James Robert Willis

James Robert “Willie” Willis, 57, of Hannibal, died on Friday, Feb. 24, 2017 at the Hannibal Regional Hospital.

Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. on Thursday, March 2, at the James O’Donnell Funeral Home in Hannibal. The Rev. Richard Epperson will officiate.  Burial will be at Fairview Cemetery in Frankford.

Friends and Family are invited to James Robert’s Life Celebration at a visitation that will be held from 6-8 p.m. on Wednesday, March 1, at the funeral home.

James Robert was born on Nov. 10, 1959 in Pike County to Robert Floyd and Mary Lavon Harlinger Willis.

He was married on Feb. 14, 1991 in Hannibal to Carol Jean Hawker Hayden.

Survivors include four children:  Robert Allen Willis (Amanda) of Arnold, Mo., Christina Diane Williams (Corey) of Festus, Mo., Paul Hayden (Crystal) of Rocky Mount, N.C. and Martin Hayden (Ronda) of Hannibal; one brother, Terry Willis (Lori) of Hannibal; nine grandchildren:  Zachary Hayden, Jordyn Hayden, Danielle Hayden, Martina Hayden, Marcus Hayden, Lillie Williams, Gavin Williams, Ethan Willis and Dylan Willis.  Also surviving are nieces, nephews and cousins.

James Robert was preceded in death by his parents.

A 1978 graduate of Bowling Green High School, James Robert  lettered in football and track and was recognized in the Who’s Who Among American High School Students of 1978  for his academic success.  He also was a member of F.F.A.  James Robert was currently a machinist at Watlow in Hannibal, where he has been employed for over 25 years.  Away from work James Robert enjoyed deer and turkey hunting.  He was also a talented softball player in his younger years.  Golfing and watching St. Louis Cardinals Baseball and Kansas City Chiefs Football were interests that James Robert took pleasure in.  A gifted poet, James Robert had a knack with words and many of his poems were published.

Most will remember James Robert as a thoughtful and loving man with a creative touch and humorous side.  Times with family and friends are moments that James Robert treasured most.

James Robert was a Christian by faith.

Pallbearers will be Greg Ellis, Donald Kent, Randy Jennings, Jerry Ince, Gary Haden, Seth Ince, Ryan Kent and Steve Houchins.

Memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society or the American Heart Association or Fairview Cemetery Association in care of the James O’Donnell Funeral Home of Hannibal, MO.

Online condolences may be made and video tribute viewed at

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