VeteranWillis France

Willis FranceWillis D. France, 88, of Astoria died at 9:25 p.m. Nov. 20, 2013, at Havana Healthcare Center.

He was born Oct. 9, 1925, in Astoria, a son of Glenn and Verna Mae Brillhart France. He married Joan Baldry on Oct. 21, 1950, in Geneseo. She survives.

Also surviving are two daughters, Patty Wherley of Astoria and Mary (and Aaron) Bowton of Canton; one son, Mike (and Pam) France of Table Grove; one brother, Willard (and Peg) France of Astoria; one sister, Dorothy (and Victor) Danner of Springfield; seven grandchildren; one step-grandchild; and 14 great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by one son-in-law, Larry Wherley; and one great-granddaughter, Rylie Wherley.

He was a lifelong resident of Astoria. He was an insurance broker, real estate broker and farmer. He began his insurance and real estate career by purchasing Joel Onion Agency in 1948. He next became a partner with Charles Stremmel in Stremmel and France Agency, that became France Insurance Agency when Charlie retired. In 1977, he decided to retire from the insurance business and devote full time to farming. He retired from farming in 1990.

He served on Astoria Village Board, first as treasurer from 1953-57 and as mayor from 1961-65. In 1955, he bought a tract of land known as the Scripp property in the northwest part of Astoria and developed it as a residential area annexed to the town as the France Addition.

He was a member of Astoria American Legion Post #25 since 1944 and Astoria United Methodist Church.

He was a U.S. Army veteran, serving from 1944-46 with the Military Police with a rank of Staff Sergeant.

Services were held Saturday at Shawgo Memorial Home in Astoria with Pastor Steve Granadosin officiating. Burial was in Astoria Cemetery.

Memorials may be made to Mason District Hospital in Havana or Passages Hospice of Peoria.


Published in the Astoria South Fulton Argus on 11/27/2013

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