Reverend Merley Willis, age 84, 1241 Coffee Ridge Loop, Erwin, went home to be with the Lord Monday evening, July 29, 2013, in the presence of his family. He was born in Unicoi County, a son of the late Jasper and Thelma Ray WIllis.
Reverend Willis worked in the ministry for twenty two years serving Roseville Baptist Church for eighteen years, Cox's Creek Baptist Church for two years, and Laurel Chapel Baptist Church for two years. He attended Coffee Ridge Missionary Baptist Church. Mr. Willis was a former employee of Clinchfield Railroad and National Casket Company.
Other than his parents, he was preceded in death by thirteen brothers: a twin brother, Harley Willis, Franchard Willis, Cecil Willis, Homer Willis, J.B. Willis, Arnold Willis, Bill Willis, Sherrill Willis, Quinton Willis, Roger Dean Willis, and Carroll Willis, two infant brothers, Quillen Willis, and Roger Dale Willis; four sisters: Bertie McIntosh, Inez Harding, Creola Evely and Ella Hensley.
He is survived by his loving and devoted wife of 64 years, Mary Evelyn Willis; two sons: Roger Dale Willis and wife, Joyce, Erwin and Marshall Dike Willis, Unicoi; one daughter, Joan L. Effler and husband, David, Erwin; two grandsons: Terry Willis and Daniel Effler, Erwin; four granddaughters: Bethany Morris, Natalie Willis, and Andrea Ryman and husband, Michael, all of Erwin, and Holly Willis, Unicoi; two great grandsons: Andrew Ryman, and Tate Kerns; two great granddaughters: Ravyn Ryman and Annslie Morris; one brother, Monroe Willis and wife, Geraldine, Johnson City; three sisters: Martha Rice and husband, Robert, Eva Bowman and husband, James, and Linda Edwards and husband, Guy all of Erwin. Numerous nieces and nephews also survive.
Funeral service for Reverend Merley Willis will be held Wednesday, July 31, 2013 at 7:00 pm, from Coffee Ridge Missionary Baptist Church. Reverend Floyd D. Effler and Reverend Homer Tweed will officiate. Special music will be provided by Sue Story and daughters, and the church choir. Nephews will serve as pallbearers.
The family will receive friends at the church from 5:00 pm until the funeral service, and other times at the family home. In addition, family and friends are welcome at the home of son, Roger Dale Willis, and wife Joyce, 430 Tate Ramsey Road.
The committal service will be held at 11:00 am Thursday, August 1, 2013 in Evergreen Cemetery. Those attending are asked to meet at the funeral home at 10:30 am to go in procession to the cemetery.
Floral arrangements will be accepted at the church anytime after 2:00 pm Wednesday.
Online condolences, photos and memories may be shared with the Willis family through our complimentary, interactive Book of Memories at www.ledfordfuneralhomes.com.
Robert Ledford Funeral Home & Chapel, 720 Ohio Avenue, Erwin, is privileged to serve the Willis family. (423) 743-1380.