AMerican Veteran 11

James R Willits

June 24, 1924 ~ July 30, 2023 (age 99) 99 Years Old


James R. Willits, 99, of Venice, FL, formerly of Rock Island, IL, passed on July 30, 2023 at Tidewell Hospice in Venice.

A private memorial service will be held at Rock Island National Cemetery on August 31, 2023. Following the service, friends and family are invited to a luncheon at Grace Church, 2324 18th Ave. Rock Island, IL from 1-4pm. Memorials may be made to The Disabled American Veterans.

James was born June 24, 1924. He was a WW2 Veteran who served in the US Army from 1943 to 1945. He deployed to the Pacific Theater including Hawaii, The Philippines, Japan, and Korea. James married Doris “Dodie” Branner on August 2nd, 1948 and remained married for 75 years. Together they had two sons, Gary and Alan.

James established a contracting business with Bert Lafferty in 1949, which specialized in masonry repair and painting in commercial, industrial, institutional and government applications.

James was a very active member of his community. He served on the Trade Board and Negotiating Committee and was a president of the Rock Island chapter of the Painting and Decorating Contractors of America. He was a president and assisted in organizing the Rock Island and Scott County, Iowa Painting and Decorating Contractors Association. James was also a member and served on the Negotiating Committee of Quad Cities Mason Contractors Association. James was a long time member of South Park Presbyterian Church where he and Dodie were members of the Mariners Group. They were also long time members of Millcreek Country Club. One of their favorite activities was square dancing.

James traveled the world with Dodie after retiring to FL. They visited China, Hong Kong, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand and countless destinations in the Americas and Europe.

They put in a pool at their home in FL where he was able to watch his sons, grandsons and great grandsons play. He leaves behind a legacy of hard work motivated by care for his family.

James is survived by his wife Doris, son Gary, grandsons Jason, Kyle & Scott, great grandsons Jaxson & Lucas and daughter-in-law Kim Willits-Bloomer.

He was preceded in death by his father James Sr., step-father and mother Bert and Elsie Lafferty, brother Eugene, daughter-in-law Dorothy and son Alan.

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Celebration of Life Luncheon
August 31, 2023

1:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Grace Church
2324 18th Ave
Rock Island, IL 61201


DAV – Disabled American Veterans
P.O. Box 14301, Cincinnati OH 45250-0301
Tel: 1-877-647-8387


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