Air Force Badge
  • Name: Richard Willis
  • Location of Birth: Pembine, Wisconsin
  • Date of Birth: 1935
  • Date of Death: September 7, 2022 (86 years old)
  • Parents: Joseph Willis and Helen (Burmeister) Willis
  • High School and Class: West Pembine, Wisconsin
  • College: Itasca Community College
  • Highest Rank: E-5
  • Branch: Air Force
  • Other Branch:
  • Date Sworn In: January 2, 1953
  • Place Sworn In: Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Date of Discharge: March 20, 1973
  • Place of Discharge: Machete, Michigan
  • Military Awards:

  • Military Highlights:
    After graduation, Richard enlisted in the United States Air Force.

    He was in the service from 1952-1973.

  • Wars Involved:
    Korean Conflict
    Vietnam Era

  • MIA / POW:

  • Civilian Life:
    Richard grew up and attended school in Pembine, Wisconsin.

    He met Barbara Barkla on a bus ride and the two were married two weeks later on August 22, 1957 in Coleraine, Minnesota.

    The family moved where Richard was stationed over his 20-year military career.

    Following his retirement, they returned to the Grand Rapids, Minnesota area and he attended Itasca Community College and earned his associate degree.

    Richard worked for Anderson Glass in Grand Rapids for 20 years.

    He was active with the Masonic Lodge, the Aad Shrine, North Star Shrine Cycle Patrol, participating as a clown with the Shriners Children's Hospital in Florida, the American Legion, the VFW, and the Disabled American Veterans. He loved spending time with his family and grandchildren.

    Richard was preceded in death by his parents; brothers, Ronald, Kenneth, and Lowell; sisters, Marilyn Raboin, JoAnne Haase, Carol Faye Willis; and son-in-law, Joseph O'Brien.

    Richard is survived by his wife of 65 years, Barbara; daughters, Debra Michaelson, Tammy O'Brien, Paula (Manuel) Jasso, Pamela (John) Zehowski; sister, Maureen Willis; brother, Patrick; ten grandchildren; fourteen great grandchildren; and two great-great grandchildren.

    Richard died at St. Luke's Hospital in Duluth, Minnesota. He is buried in Lakeview Cemetery at Coleraine, Minnesota.

  • Tribal Affiliation(s):