Aaron R. Willis

COAL CITY – Aaron R. Willis, 83, of Coal City and formerly of Essex passed away Monday, January 1, 2018 at his home. Aaron Ray was born April 16, 1934 in Ritchie, son of Coy and Bessie Hoffman Willis. On September 3, 1955, he married Helen Svoboda in Immaculate Conception Church, Braid-wood. Aaron’s employment be-gan with Public Service and continued with ComEd, from where he retired as a heavy equipment operator in 1989 after 38 years of service. Aaron’s hobby of midget car racing began in 1957 with the purchase of his first car and continued most of his life. He raced up until 1976; was a member of the board of directors; worked as a pit steward; and served as President of the United Auto Racing Association (UARA); and he served as President and Racing Director for the World of Outlaw Midgets. In 1986 Aaron charter-ed the United Midget Auto Racing Assn. (UMARA), a family-run business operating 14 years through the 2000 racing season. A man with strong determination and a sense of impeccable detail, Aaron leaves behind a legacy of racing, as well as cherished memories with his grandchildren, whom he adored. Survivors include his wife of 62 years, Helen; seven children: Valerie Willis-Carter of Coal City; Nadine (Robert) Hutchinson of Wheaton; Vicki Henke of Wilmington; Sheila Willis of Coal City; Sara Sirovy (fiance Joe Wesner) of Orland Park; Melanie (Dan) Bell of Naperville; and Aaron Willis (Stephanie Baker) of Wilmington. Also surviving are grand-children: Arin Carter-Richards (Ken), Danny, Jr. (Amanda) Carter, Robert Hutchinson (fiance Liz Denz), Anne Hutchinson, Madeline Hutchinson, Sarah Sirovy, Nicholas Sirovy, Ethan Bell, Aidan Bell, Andrew Willis, Jonathan Wesner and Alex Wesner; one great-grandson, Allan Richards; one sister, Margaret (Patrick) Weber of Scio, Oregon; one sister-in-law, Roseann Novy of Coal City; and several nieces and nephews, as well as his best friend, Michael Yeager of Joliet. Aaron was preceded in death by his parents; one son, James in infancy; a sister, Dorothy Sommers; and a niece, Denise Mask. The family received friends for a Celebration of Aaron’s Life Saturday, January 6, from 3 until 8 p.m., at Reeves Funeral Home, Coal City. Green flameless cremation rites were accorded following the celebration of life. A private family inurnment will be held in Bohemian National Ceme-tery, Braidwood, at a later date. Family and friends may sign the guestbook, upload photographs or share Aaron’s memorial page online by logging on to: www.ReevesFuneral.com