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1925 Irene 2017

Irene Bradford Willis

February 12, 1925 — September 7, 2017

Irene Bradford Willis, age 92 of Niles, Michigan died peacefully at 6:30 a.m. on Thursday, September 7, 2017.  She was surrounded by family.

She was born on February 12, 1925 in Enid, Mississippi to John Robert and Mandy (Buckley) Bradford.  She attended school in Enid, and lived in Charleston, Mississippi before coming to Niles in 1950.

Irene kept an immaculate home and was an avid gardener, and she found great joy in the kitchen.   Everything that came out of her kitchen was enjoyed by all, especially her dinner rolls, fried corn, dressing, and peach cobbler.  Friends and family quickly learned that she could fill everyone’s plate, no matter how many stopped by.  Irene was very active until she was called home to be with the Lord.  Just last week, she was canning pickled pears (the old-fashioned way) and making fried pies.  Her greatest joy was caring for her family, to whom she devoted her life.  Homemaking was secondary to the importance of raising nine children to be respectful, responsible, and successful, a labor of love that she faithfully completed.

On May 15, 1946 in Charleston she married Willie Lee Willis, Sr.  Willie preceded her in death on January 25, 1997.  They were also sadly preceded in death by a son, Robert, and by Irene’s siblings, Ora Johnson, Henry Buckley, Willie Hoskins, Wardell Bradford, Sr., and Robert Bradford; and two special sisters, Nannie Redding and Asie Lee Laws.

Surviving family includes her children, Willie Lee Willis, Jr. (Yolanda) of Goshen, Indiana, Barbara Gamble of Bristol, Indiana, Lorraine (Roger) Outlaw of Niles, Clara (Paul) Taylor of Elkhart, Indiana, Rosie Willis of Niles, Kathy Willis of Freemont, California, Vivian (Bruce) Wilson of Fredericksburg, Virginia, and Gloria (Real) Daniels of Rahway, New Jersey; eighteen grandchildren, thirty great-grandchildren, eleven great-great-grandchildren; and the many who considered her mom or grandma; special sisters, Virginia Brown and Betty Perry; and many nieces, nephews, and cousins.

The family will receive relatives and friends at the Halbritter-Wickens Funeral Home in Niles beginning at noon on Thursday, September 14, 2017.  The funeral service will commence at 1:00 p.m. at the funeral home with the Rev. Kisha Jones officiating.  Committal will follow at the Silverbrook Cemetery in Niles.

Contributions in memory of Irene Bradford Willis may be made to The Salvation Army of Niles.


Charitable donations may be made to:

The Salvation Army of Niles
424 North Fifteenth Street, Niles MI 49120
Tel: 1-269-684-2660
Web: http://saniles.org



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