Ernest Leonard Willey, “Red”, 86, of Jamestown, ND, passed away November 8, 2020, at Eventide Nursing Home where he had resided since 2014. He was met in passing by his wife, Ruth Willey.
Red was born April 29, 1934 to Lloyd and Josephine (Anderson) Willey. He was the eighth of 12 kids in his family. His family lived in Windsor, ND, eventually relocating to Ypsilanti, ND, where Red attended school and farmed.
Red met his wife, Ruth Toay, while working at the North Dakota State Hospital. They were married July 14, 1955, and together they established a life in Jamestown, had six children, and lived in a home made from grain bins. Red retired from the NDSH after 39 and a half years of employment. He also worked part-time at a Conoco station. His coworkers enjoyed his company, and he acted as a supervisor for many years. He was greatly respected by his coworkers, even years after retirement.
After retirement, Red and his wife wintered in Texas. They were members of the Roaming Buffalo Camping Club and the St. James Basilica Church. He enjoyed camping, mashed potatoes and chicken, and spending time with his family. He was known for his adoring nature, making sure everyone was cared for. His sense of humor was contagious. He was gracious, patient, and always willing to help others.
Red is survived by his six children, three sons and three daughters: Leonard Willey, Jamestown; Dennis Willey, Temple, TX; Patrick (Carla) Willey, Ypsilanti; Mary Susan (John) O’Meara, Fargo, ND; Olive (Gary) Eldevik, Aberdeen, SD; and Roxanne Willey, Jamestown. Red is survived by five of his siblings: Ruth Williams, West Fargo, ND; Donald Willey, Fort Wayne, IN; Evelyn Steckler, Jamestown; Darwin Willey, Highlands Ranch, CO; and Grace Priebe, Waterloo, IO. He was blessed with seven granddaughters, which he and Ruth adored. They were further blessed with 13 great-grandchildren.
Red is preceded in death by his parents, Lloyd and Josephine, and six siblings: Ruby Clemens, Esther Williams, LeRoy Willey, Lorraine Scott, Lloyd Willey, Jr., and Josephine Wirrenga. He was preceded in death by his wife, Ruth, and his daughter-in-law, Cynthia Willey.
Red’s life will be celebrated with an intimate family graveside service. In lieu of flowers, monetary donations can be made to the JRMC Cancer Center.
Arrangements are in the care of Williams Funeral Home, Jamestown.