CARTERSVILLE, Virginia — James Claude Willis passed away on June 12, 2019, at his home in Cartersville, Virginia, from cancer.
He was born in Waynesville, North Carolina on January 12, 1943, son of the late Herschel Lee Willis and the late Opal Juanita Willis. He is survived by his wife of 41 years, Elinor Loretta (Gates) Riley; daughter, Parrish Riley Mort (Steve) and son, Rex Riley, and a daughter from an earlier marriage, Mary Beth Willis, a number of grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and nieces and nephews, a brother, Cecil Lee Willis (Deborah) of Leland, North Carolina, and sister, Sheila Willis Hannah of Killen, Alabama.
He attended Canton High School where he lettered in football and earned an academic scholarship to Mars Hill College. He served in the National Guard from 1966 to 1972. Following completion of his bachelor’s degree at East Tennessee State University in 1966, he worked for Phillip Morris Tobacco Company in Richmond, Virginia and in 1973 began a long career in management at General Foam and Plastics in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
Following retirement from General Foam he began his career as a real estate agent with Rose and Womble Realty in 1995.
He is remembered by family and friends as kind gentle soul who was generous with praise for others.
A celebration of life service was held at All Saints Episcopal Church in Henrico, Virginia and his cremated remains were inurned at the church on June 24, 2019. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Cancer Research Institute.