Raymond Willis Obituary (1940 – 2023) – Elizabethtown, KY

Dr. Raymond Bruce Willis, 82, passed away Monday, March 20, 2023, at Landmark of Bardstown nursing home.

Dr. Willis was born June 25, 1940, in Apling­ton, Iowa. At his death, he was a resident of Elizabethtown.

Dr. Willis had careers in teaching and chemical research. He earned both an undergraduate degree in mathematics and physics from Iowa State University. After teaching mathematics in Gowrie and Plainfield, Iowa, he went back to Iowa State University and earned a Ph.D. in analytic chemistry. Following graduation, Raymond moved with his wife and three children to Frankfort, Kentucky, to teach general science at Kentucky State University. While there, he started research in iron chemistry. Even though Raymond enjoyed encouraging youth with learning, he sought a job which included more research. That job took him to the Northeast U.S. Forest Research Station in Berea. He raised his family in Berea and in 1992 was transferred to another research station in Hamden, Connecticut, where he worked until retirement.

After retiring from the U.S. Forest Service, Raymond went back to teaching youth. He spent a year teaching general science at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut. Next he moved to Elizabethtown and spent a semester teaching algebra and chemistry at ECTC. Finally, what many people know him for locally, is he spent many years teaching chemistry and physics as a volunteer for the Elizabethtown FAITH homeschool co-op.

Some people around Central Kentucky and Southern Indiana also may remember him for his participation in the Kentuckiana Square Dance Association. With his wife, he served several terms as an officer of the association.

Music always has been important in Raymond’s life. Wherever he lived, he usually participated in singing with their church choir. In addition, he played a trumpet with the Berea College Band and played the piano for children or adults singing when requested.

Ray was preceded in death by his brother, James Willis of Aplington, Iowa.

Ray is survived by his wife, Emily Joyce MacLeod Willis from Greene, Iowa. His children are Andrew Willis (Allison), Laura Cook (Jeffery) and Peter Willis (Rebecca). They have 12 surviving grandchildren. His remaining brothers and sisters are Paul Willis (Norleen), David Willis (Ila), Roberta Hafenstein and Elaine Forry.

Ray and his wife have been long-time members of Memorial United Methodist Church at 631 N. Miles St. in Elizabethtown. A memorial service will be held there at 2 p.m. Friday, March 24. Visitation is prior from 12:30 to 2 p.m.

Cremation has been chosen. Manakee Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

Published by The News-Enterprise from Mar. 21 to Mar. 24, 2023.

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