Cover photo for Gene Willet's Obituary
Gene Willet Profile Photo

Gene Willet

Eugene Herbert Willet, age 90, of Lamar, passed away Friday night, February 24, 2017, at Truman Healthcare Center following a long illness.      Gene was born November 7, 1926, at the family farm in the Newport community, to Earl and Nora (Archer) Willet.  At the age of seventeen, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy, serving on the USS Austin in the Pacific Theater during World War II.  Returning to the states in 1946, Gene worked in logging and shipping yards in the northwest for several years. It was there that he met the love of his life, Ruth Alaire Moore, and they were married on November 26, 1949 in Ajlune, Washington.  In 1951, they moved back to Missouri where Gene was a telegrapher and depot agent for the Frisco Railroad for 28 years.  Many in Lamar will remember Gene by his CB handle, “Railroader” or by the bicycle they bought or had repaired at Willet’s Bike Shop.  After retiring in 1981, Gene enjoyed “treasure hunting” with a metal detector or sharing the abundance of his vegetable garden with family and friends.       Gene and Ruth had shared more than 53 years together before her death on March 26, 2003.  He was also preceded in death by his parents; a daughter, Joyce Ann Hyche; and three brothers, Melvin, Edward, and Robert.      Survivors include two daughters, Jean Alaire Harrison, Thelma Forkner and her partner, Bill Cackley, all of Lamar; three sons, Robert (Nancy) Willet, Austin, Texas, Michael (Brenda) Willet, Branson, Missouri, and Brian Willet, Independence, Missouri; two brothers, Marvin Willet and Gaylord (Pam) Willet, all of Lamar; two sisters, Ruby (Wayne) Poe, Lamar, and Pauline Nickloson and partner, Marvin, Clarksville, Arkansas; 16 grandchildren; 20 great-grandchildren; and two great-great grandchildren.      A graveside funeral service will be held at 1:00 p.m. Tuesday, February 28th at Memory Gardens Cemetery with Pastor Elvin Winans officiating.   Full military honors will be conducted by the U.S. Navy Honors Team and Lamar VFW Post 3691.      The family will receive friends from 6:00 until 7:00 p.m. Monday at Daniel Funeral Home.       Memorial contribution are suggested to American Cancer Society in care of the funeral home.
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