Obituary of Gary Phuong Willis
Gary Willis, age 53, passed away on February 15, 2022, at Agape Hospice House in Summerville, SC.
Gary was born in Saigon, Vietnam on January 8, 1969. He moved to the United States with his mother and father when he was just 2 years old. He grew up in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania where he graduated from Baldwin High School. Gary went on to serve in the Air Force as a Medical Service Specialist, which was a perfect fit for him. Gary was clear-headed and quick-thinking in challenging and stressful times. The Air Force Achievement medal was awarded for outstanding achievement; Gary saved many lives during his tenure. In addition to those achievements, Gary received an Associates's Degree in Accounting from Western Dakota Institute before entering the workforce. He derived a lot of meaning and purpose from his incredible work ethic. Many companies benefited from his tenacity for a job well done. He worked for several companies during the course of his career including Herbergers, Lands End, and, most recently, Home Goods.
Gary loved traveling and spending time with his family more than just about anything. He enjoyed spending time with his girls at the beach and riding the scary rides with them at Disneyworld. Their memories of Disneyworld, a family favorite destination, will always include feeling brave enough to conquer those rides because they had their dad by their sides. Gary and April got married and renewed their vows in the tropics. Gary firmly believed that there was nothing so bad that some saltwater and sunshine couldn’t fix. As much as Gary loved his work over the years, his favorite job was always “Dad.” Raising and loving his four children was an honor he never took lightly. He loved his job and his Home Goods “family” and felt their love and support during these difficult years. Gary’s favorite place to be was in the garage working on his truck or motorcycle with his son, Trevor. They will always share a love of motors and beautiful machines. He always had a “small” project that never ended and only needed a few more parts. He was, as Trevor said, the DIY King; there wasn’t anything he couldn’t fix, remodel or make run.
Gary is survived by his wife, April Willis of Bluffton, SC; his children Trevor Willis of Charleston, SC; Preston Willis of Dodgeville, WI, Fasika Willis, and Zahara Willis both of Bluffton, SC; sister Renee Mrkonja of Monaca, PA; father Kenneth Willis of Monaca, PA, and mother Kim Willis of Pittsburg, PA.
A visitation will be held at 1:00 PM on Saturday, February 19, 2022, at the Island Funeral Home, 4 Cardinal Road, Hilton Head Island, SC. A memorial service will follow at 2:00 PM. All are welcome to attend and celebrate Gary’s life. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made for his young daughters’ college funds.