SARASOTA, FL —
Willis H. Winters, 91, of Sarasota, Fla., formerly of Cleveland, Ohio, Columbus, Ohio, and Ashland, died on Feb. 15, 2013, in Sarasota, after a period of declining health.
He was born on March 13, 1921, to Wilbur and Josephine Hines Winters in Cleveland. He married his loving wife, Ruth Rickert on March 26, 1943, who survives him, along with their three daughters, Penelope (James) George of Cottage Grove, Minn., Christine (Kraig) Noble of St. Marys, Ohio, and Nancy (James) Botti of Dublin, Ohio; six grandsons, Dr. Mark (Talia) George, Ryan George, U.S. Air Force Maj. Jeffrey (Tina) Noble, Jonathan Noble, Keith Botti and Bradford Botti; and four great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by siblings Dorothea and Gordon.
Willis was a second lieutenant during World War II serving in the 90th Division of the Third Army. He was wounded in the Battle of the Bulge and received the Purple Heart.
He attended Miami University of Ohio and earned a bachelor’s degree from Western Reserve University. He also attended executive training courses at Dartmouth University. Willis spent his entire career in the refining and petroleum distribution industry, beginning with Allied Oil in Cleveland as a mail clerk. When the company was acquired by Ashland Oil he moved to Kentucky and became credit manager. In 1967, he was transferred to Ohio to open the company's new Dublin operation. Later, he returned to headquarters in Kentucky where he rose to the position of corporate treasurer. Following his retirement in 1983, Willis became a certified financial planner and registered representative with Hilliard and Lyons.
Willis gave of his time and talents to many volunteer activities. In Cleveland he worked with Junior Achievement and in Cincinnati he served as president of the Credit Association. In Ashland, he was president of Kiwanis, president of the Chamber of Commerce, chairman of the board of Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital and elder at Bellefonte Presbyterian Church. In Sarasota he volunteered for 25 years as a tax preparer with AARP and served as elder at Pine Shores Presbyterian Church.
Willis loved golf and was a longtime member and served on the board of Misty Creek Country Club in Sarasota. He was an avid player of bridge and pinochle and played both with enthusiasm and much humor until his death. He remained totally devoted to his wife of 69 years and his children and grandchildren, following their careers with pride.
A memorial service and celebration of his life will be conducted at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 6, 2013, at Pine Shores Presbyterian Church, 6135 Beechwood Ave., Sarasota, FL 34231.
Memorials preferred to Pine Shores Church or Tidewell Hospice, 5955 Rand Blvd., Sarasota, FL 34238.
Private interment at Sarasota National Cemetery.