Cleeland Willis

Published 4:22 pm Thursday, April 22, 2021

Cleeland Willis

Feb. 10, 1937–April 21, 2021


Cleeland R. Willis, 84, of Gallipolis, passed away on Wednesday, April 21, 2021.

Cleeland was married to Wanda L. Saunders, on June 27, 1958, whom he met at Rio Grande College. She preceded him in death on Feb. 7, 2016.

Born on Feb. 10, 1937 in Lawrence County, Cleeland was the son of the late Merrill and Myrtle Beatrice Waller Willis.

Cleeland was a U.S. Air Force veteran.

In 1972, Cleeland graduated from Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science; he was a licensed funeral director and embalmer.

Cleeland founded Willis Funeral Home in 1974. He was a member of First Baptist Church, the church choir, the John Stam Sunday School class, Gallipolis Rotary Club and the Senior Citizens Board.

Cleeland enjoyed golfing, but he especially loved his grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Cleeland is survived by his daughter, Lou Ann (Kent) Shawver, of Gallipolis; son, Matthew R. (Letty) Willis, of Gallipolis; grandchildren, Betsy (Aaron) Brown, of Huntington, West Virginia, Zachary Willis (Julie) Shawver, of Monclova, Samuel (Katie) Shawver, of Gallipolis, Brianne R. Willis, of Gallipolis, and Brooke (Samuel) Frazier, of Russell, Kentucky; great-grandchildren, Zane and Nora Shawver, Sadie and Tucker Brown, and Lucas Shawver; and many nieces and nephews in both the Willis family and the Saunders family.

In addition to his parents and his wife, Cleeland was preceded in death by two sisters, Ruth Evelyn Kitts and Betty L. Patrick.

A funeral service for Cleeland will be held at 6 p.m. on Monday at Willis Funeral Home, with Pastor Aaron Young and Pastor Marc Sarrett officiating. Burial will be in Providence Cemetery.

Those in attendance are asked to follow the CDC guideline of social distancing and are required to follow the Ohio mandate of wearing face masks.

The family asks you to consider making a donation to a charity of your choice.
Please visit to send e-mail condolences.