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Georgie Evelyn Loudy Willis
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Obituary for Georgie Evelyn Loudy Willis

Georgie Evelyn Loudy Willis – September 20, 1918 – November 7, 2017

Evelyn Loudy Willis died peacefully at home surrounded by her children on November 7, 2017. She was 99 years old.

Evelyn was born in Dungannon, Virginia, on September 20, 1918, to William Henry Loudy and Clara Gray Loudy. She was the third of four sisters.

When she was 6 years old, her family moved to Jacksonville, FL, where she began her schooling, showing particular interest and joy in music and theatre and had the lead roles in many of her high school’s productions.

In 1937, she matriculated to Florida Southern College, where she majored in Education and Religion, and continued her interest in theatre with lead roles in campus plays and musicals. During her time at FSC, she fell in love with Warren W. Willis, whom she had met previously in Jacksonville when he was on a date with one of her sister’s friends.

Evelyn and Warren were married in 1940 and had five children: Frances Jane, Grace Eileen, Warren Waite, Jr., Mary Diane and Walter Towner.

Evelyn taught fourth grade at Padgett Elementary for decades, reaching thousands of Lakeland’s students. She was awarded Teacher of the Year in 1986, and even after her retirement in 1991, she continued substitute teaching until she was 83.

In addition to her career as a teacher, Evelyn was a supporting force behind the development and eventual establishment of the Florida United Methodist Youth Camp, which has since been renamed the Warren W. Willis United Methodist Camp, in Leesburg, Florida. Building twelve at the camp bears her name as the Evelyn Willis Retreat House. The camp continues to host thousands of youth and adults alike each year.

Throughout her life, she was a devoted member of College Heights United Methodist Church for 72 years, where she volunteered in innumerable roles, including director of the junior choir, the adult leader of the UMYF, and a teacher and coordinator in the Sunday school program. She also sang in the chancel choir and served in leadership roles in the United Methodist Women.

In addition to the church, she was also involved in many other community activities, including Campfire Girls, president of the Dixieland Elementary PTA, member of the Antique Club, the Contemporary Club, Delta Kappa Gamma, and multiple book clubs.

Upon retirement, she devoted herself to her growing cadre of grandchildren and great-grandchildren, counseling and teaching the next generations. At her death, she was a loving and honored matriarch of her four living children, thirteen grandchildren and thirty-four great-grandchildren. In total, Evelyn has 51 living descendants.

Evelyn loved people, literature and poetry, ornithology, and the Bible. She was the most loving, accepting, and inclusive person, always reminding us “if you knew everything there was to know about a person, you could not help but love them.” She showed grace to everyone, and her home was full of people of all backgrounds. Evelyn was a person of deep faith and found God in all things and in all people.

She is survived by Frances Ragsdale (Denny), Eileen Wills (Dick), Warren Waite Willis, Jr. (Susan), Diane Willis Stahl (Larry), thirteen grandchildren, thirty-four great-grandchildren, and scores of others who claimed her as mother and friend.

She was predeceased by her mother and father, her three sisters, Kathleen, Mary, and Frankie, her beloved husband, Warren, and her son, Walter.

Services will be held at College Heights United Methodist Church on this Saturday, November 11, 2017 at 2pm. In lieu of flowers, the family requests a gift be made to College Heights United Methodist Church or the Warren W. Willis United Methodist Camp.


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Previous Events

Service

Saturday

11

Nov

2:00 PM
College Heights United Methodist Church

942 South Blvd
Lakeland, Florida 33803

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