Obituary & Services: Shelley Rae Willis

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Shelley Rae Willis, 64, passed away on Wednesday, August 30, 2023, at Wright Memorial Hospital in Trenton, Missouri, surrounded by loved ones.

Shelley WIllis obit photoBorn on December 4, 1958, in Chariton, Iowa, Shelley was the daughter of Ray Dean Richman and Janice (Todd) Richman. She spent her early years on a farm in Derby, Iowa, before moving to Mercer, Missouri, at the age of 14. It was in Mercer that she met the love of her life, Chuck Willis. They were married on May 27, 1977, following Shelley’s graduation from Ravanna High School. Upon marriage, they made their home in Ravanna, Missouri, where Shelley resided until her passing.

Shelley began her career in the banking industry before finding her calling in public service at the Mercer Circuit Clerk’s Office. For almost 30 years, she dedicated herself to this role, retiring in 2018. Shelley took great pride in her work and enjoyed working with those around her. Beyond her professional life, Shelley held a passion for reading and gardening, finding joy in the beauty of the flowers that adorned her home.

While Shelley cherished her career, her heart belonged to her family. She reveled in the warmth of large family gatherings, where tales—some true, some exaggerated—were shared with laughter. One of her joys was taking her numerous nieces and nephews to the movies on their birthdays, creating cherished memories.

Shelley was a devoted mother and grandmother. Shelley’s dedication to family shone brightly during her son Eric’s school years. She and Chuck traveled all across northern Missouri to support Eric in his beloved sports. Rarely absent from his games, Shelley would eagerly listen to Eric’s animated recaps on the occasions she couldn’t attend. Eric’s achievements filled her with pride. The ultimate delight of Shelley’s life was her two grandsons, Jacob and Luke. She cherished every moment spent with them. Some of her fondest memories included making cookies with their adorable, messy assistance.

A testament to true love, Shelley and Chuck’s marriage endured for 46 years, their devotion unwavering to the end. Their love for each other was wholehearted and unending.

Shelley was a valued member of the Mercer Legion Auxiliary and also previously served on the Mercer School Board. She leaves behind a legacy of love, dedication, and cherished memories. Her impact on her family and community will be remembered fondly and celebrated.

She leaves behind to mourn her, husband Chuck Willis; son Eric (Amanda) Willis; grandchildren Luke Willis and Jacob Willis; brothers Todd (Alan) Richman, David (Theresa) Richman, and Steven (Carrie) Richman; a brother-in-law, Larry (Betty) Willis; her mother-in-law, Virginia (Kenneth) Willis; and a sister-in-law, Deanna Bunnell, as well as many nieces, nephews, great-nieces, and great-nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents and brother, Gary Richman, and her father-in-law, Kenneth Willis, who always treated her like his own.

The family will hold memorial graveside services on Monday, September 4, 2023, at 1:00 p.m. at Early Cemetery in Mercer, Missouri. Donations in lieu of flowers are suggested to the Mercer County Health Department and the Green Hills Animal Shelter in Trenton, MO, care of Roberson Funeral Home, P.O. Box 316, Princeton, MO 64673.

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