Donald Keith Wills | Passages

Donald Keith Wills (Sr.) passed away Oct. 13, 2010. He was born Dec. 28, 1925, the son of Henry Victor Wills and Linnea Maria (Rolin) Wills and older brother to Sharon “Vicki” (Wills) Waters, now deceased.

Don grew up on San Juan Island, graduating from Friday Harbor High School where he lettered in basketball. Winning the heart of Roylea Elizabeth Johnson, they married and had two sons, Donald Keith Wills II (b. 1950) and Richard John Wills (b. 1952). Roylea and Ricky preceded Don’s death.

Don is survived by his oldest son Donald, granddaughters Jesse Erin (Wills) Harrison and Lauren Lisa Wills, grandson Andrew Schuyler Anderson Wills, great-granddaughter Abby Elizabeth Harrison, and his two nieces Erica (Waters) Miller and Kerri Waters.

Don’s long military service began at age 18 when he and his father Henry served on Army transport tugs in Alaska during World War II. Discharged in 1946, Don returned to Friday Harbor and worked for the ferry system, Friday Harbor Canning Co., and as a self-employed wood cutter. In 1949, Don again enlisted in the Army and was stationed in Texas and then New York.

Discharged in 1952, Don returned to Seattle to enter electrical engineering classes at the University of Washington. Don took a civil engineering job with the City of Seattle in 1954, where his career included surveying, construction engineering, design engineering, and construction inspection work. Don had also joined the Air Force Reserves and was recalled to active duty in 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis. After the stand down from the Cuban crisis, Don continued in the Air Force Reserves at McChord AFB, retiring honorably as a Chief Master Sergeant.

Don introduced his sons to boating, camping, fishing, and life in general. He was an avid supporter of both sons in their endeavors growing up, Don II in sports and Ricky in music and dance. Don’s enthusiasm for boating has taken root in two successive generations now and shows no sign of slowing down, as great-granddaughter Abby has found a place in her heart for boats. Something we will all remember about dad, Gpa, GP, and Great-grandpa is his love of boating and his untiring will to focus on getting a job done and doing it right the first time around.

Don’s love for his family and our love for him grew into a deep understanding of what family truly is, that of loving and unconditionally supportive parents and a respect for those parents. We will all deeply miss the patriarch of our family, Don has been a grand inspiration to us all.

Don has slipped the surly bonds of life and found his peace upon calm waters. We love you. Fair winds and kind seas always.

— Family of Donald Keith Wills (Sr.)

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