Grace Ellen Turnbull Willis


Grace Ellen Turnbull Willis was born February 27, 1932, to Richard Turnbull and Margaret Wolf Turnbull in Lewiston, Idaho. She passed away December 27, 2012, in Raymond, Washington surrounded by her loving family. She was 80.

Grace grew up and attended grade school in Lewiston; there she took dance and music lessons. Her family moved to Richland, Wash. where she went to High School. She met and fell in love with Charles Willis and they were married February 14, 1948. They had four children, Charlotte in 1950, Mary in 1951, Jim in 1952 and Susan in 1955.

During the 42 years they were married Grace was a loving wife, devoting all her time and energy to caring for her family and home. She loved to sew with her girls and was an amazing seamstress; sewing school dresses, formals and Susie’s wedding dress. Crafting, gardening, cooking and canning were also favorite past times. Grace was a Cub Scout Den Mother for her son Jimmy and enjoyed helping with 4-H Club.

Charles and Grace had many adventures with their children; moving all over the Pacific Northwest and Alaska following construction work. She drove the Alaskan Highway at age 28 with the four children to meet Charles who was working in Anchorage. The family laughs about how Grace made the trip in only four days with small children when it took Charles six days to travel the highway. They also had Dairy Farms in Sunnyside and Outlook, Wash. They spent hours playing cards and loved to go out dancing with friends.

In 1990 Charles passed away and this started a new chapter in Grace’s life. She moved to Pahrump, Nev. to be close to her mother. While she was there she met Lloyd Bishop and was privileged to love and be loved by him for the next 17 years. They were best friends and loved to play bingo and eat out together. In 2009, Lloyd passed. Grace moved in with her daughter, Mary and Mary’s husband, Bill, who lovingly cared for her.

Grace was a garage sale queen, and could never pass up a sale or thrift store looking for a special treasure. One of the new joys of her life was the opening of Grace’s Gallery (named for her) by her son Jimmy. She contributed many items to sell and sometimes would buy them back and take them home to enjoy.

Grace was full of life and loved to laugh, giggle, wiggle, dance and do her Miss America routine. She liked to talk politics and debate. She loved music and to sing little childhood ditties. She was known to beat her grandkids in Yahtzee and love it. She loved to flirt and appreciated a good looking man including Alex Trebeck from Jeopardy.

Grace’s legacy and love were her children, Charlotte (Mike) Verley of Irrigon, Ore., Mary (Bill) Reed of Raymond, Wash., Jimmy Willis of South Bend, Wash. and Susie (Hans) DeVries of Tillamook, Ore.; her grandchildren Chris (Sommer), Danny (Brandi), Cindy (Jim), Sheri, Scott (Kim), Wendy (Geoff), Dennis (Amanda), Mindy (Chip), Melissa, Kimberly (Matthew), Matt (Lauren), Steve, Nonda (Ken), Gary (Meloni), Nancy (Bob), Andrew, Shawn (Katherine), Sara Grace (Ryan) and numerous great-grandchildren; a sister, Rose (Ray) McDonald of Anchorage, Alaska; nieces and nephews, and many extended family and friends also survive Grace. She was preceded in death by her husband, Charles; and friend, Lloyd.

A celebration of life was held at the Lebam Community Church on Saturday, December 29, 2012. Inurnment services will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday, January 6, 2013, at the Riverview Cemetery in Irrigon, Oregon.

Memorials may be made to the Lebam Community Church P.O. Box 188, Lebam, WA 98554 or the Willapa Harbor Hospital P.O. Box 438 South Bend, WA 98586 in Grace’s memory. Arrangements are in care of Stoller’s Mortuary in Raymond.