Ruby Willis

Obituary of Ruby Willis

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Ruby Lawson was born in Poplar Creek, Kentucky on April 30, 1930. She was one of six children born from the union of James and Doxie (Owens) Lawson. On June 1, 1946, she wed Floyd Willis in Middlesboro, Kentucky. They were blessed with nine children. The couple settled in Erie, Michigan in the early 1960’s where Ruby continued to reside in the same home for sixty years.

Ruby dedicated her life to caring for her family. She created a small, self-sustaining “farm” on their property which included a vegetable garden. Each year, Ruby diligently canned her harvest for the upcoming winter. She took great pride in her home and perused the pages of Better Homes and Gardens magazine for decorating and recipe ideas. “Date night” for Ruby and her husband usually consisted of treasure hunting for antiques. She bought anything that piqued her interest which culminated in several large collections. At times Ruby was carried away in all the excitement resulting in buying too many items and then having to ask for help in transporting everything home!

The Willis family often returned to their home state of Kentucky, where they also maintained a residence. Ruby and her siblings were also associated with a small church that her father developed and pastored for many years. Most recently, Ruby took a special surprise trip down south where she was over the moon to visit with her sister, Sue, whom she hadn’t seen in over a decade.

Ruby Willis, age 92, of Erie, Michigan, passed away peacefully on Tuesday; November 8, 2022. Her passing was preceded by her parents; her beloved husband of fifty-two years:  Floyd Willis in 1998; three daughters: Judy Cox, Sherry Varnes, and Patty Willis; a son: Jerry Willis; and four siblings: Don, Shirl, Ruth, and Roy.

To cherish her memory, she leaves five children: Betty K. Willis-Lintner of Toledo, Ohio, Eddie (Deb) Willis of Pittsford, Michigan, Kathy (Don) Suchocki of Thompsonville, Michigan and Bobby (Cheri) Willis of LaSalle, Michigan, and Jeffery Willis of Erie, Michigan; a sister: Sue (Tom) Matney of Kentucky; nineteen grandchildren; many great and great great grandchildren; son in-laws: Marvin Varnes and Mike Cox; and a beloved canine companion: “Sadie”, who was invariably at her side. A dog lover, Ruby always had a pet pooch.

Friends may gather on Sunday; November 13, 2022 from 2:00pm until 7:00pm at Merkle Funeral Service, Erie; 9156 Summit Street, Erie, Michigan 48133 (734) 317-7199. A Celebration of Ruby’s Life with Pastor Roy Southerland officiating will be held at 11:00am on Monday; November 14, 2022 also at Merkle’s.   Procession will follow to Roselawn Memorial Park in LaSalle for burial.

The Willis family wishes to extend their deepest gratitude to Glenn and Sandy Ross for their loving care. Online guests may leave words of inspiration and comfort or share a photo by visiting


Gathering for Ruby Willis

2:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Sunday, November 13, 2022
Merkle Funeral Service - Erie
9156 Summit Street
Erie, Michigan, United States
(734) 317-7199

Celebration of Life for Ruby Willis

11:00 am - 12:00 am
Monday, November 14, 2022
Merkle Funeral Service - Erie
9156 Summit Street
Erie, Michigan, United States
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Ruby Willis

In Loving Memory

Ruby Willis

1930 - 2022

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