Fernie Gordon Willis, 90, of Beaufort, died Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014, at Carteret General Hospital in Morehead City.
His service is at 2:30 p.m. today at First Freewill Baptist Church with the Rev. Richard Patterson officiating. Interment will follow at Carteret Memorial Gardens.
Fernie was born on Nov. 29, 1923, to Adrian and Carrie Styron Willis of Harkers Island. His siblings were his sister, Lettie and brother, Llewelyn. As a child, he spent his childhood and youth playing along the shore and boating and fishing with his father. Fernie graduated from Harkers Island School. Afterward, he served in the U.S. Navy for two years and 10 months. He was assigned to naval amphibious forces special support group and participated in the Normandy invasion at Omaha Beach. He was awarded the French Government Jubilee and Liberty Medal, the American Campaign medals, the European/African Campaign Medal with Battle Star and World War II Victory Medal.
After returning from the war, he married his childhood sweetheart, Lola Fulcher on April 12, 1946, in Beaufort. They made their home on Harkers Island and had one son, Adrian “Martin” Willis.
Fernie worked at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, retiring after 35 years as supervisory aircraft equipment specialist. Fernie was an active member of Harkers Island United Methodist Church while living on the island. Music was always a special part of Fernie’s life. Along with his wife, he sang in a trio that ministered to many area churches. He was a member of First Free Will Baptist Church while living in Beaufort where he also enjoyed serving in the choir. His beautiful tenor voice will be a lasting cherished memory.
He is survived by a son, Adrian “Martin” Willis and wife Sharon of Harkers Island; three grandchildren, Adrienne Jungmann and good friend Mark Eichhorst, Julie Willis and husband Jay and Heather Golden and husband Michael; four great-grandchildren, Mallory and Caroline Lawrence and Hannah and Joshua Jungmann; nephew, Craig Lewis; and niece, Llewella Nelson.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 65 years, Lola D. Willis; parents, Adrian and Carrie Willis; one sister, Lettie Lewis; and one brother, Llewellyn Willis.
Arrangements are by Munden Funeral Home and Crematory Inc. of Morehead City. Online condolences may be made to the family at www.mundenfuneralhome.net.