Willard E. Whitacre

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Willard E. Whitacre, born on November 23, 1927, in Dayton, Ohio, passed away peacefully in Aledo, Illinois, on November 4, 2023. He is remembered fondly for his love of family, dedication to work, and zest for life. 

Willard married the love of his life, Stella Mae Serven on July 6, 1946 in Newport, Kentucky. Their marriage brought three daughters, two of whom survive, Karen (Don) Lovett and Joyce (Paul) Hoffacker bother of Oquawka; and Carol Vancil who preceded Willard in death in 2008. Stella left Willard’s side on April 22, 2017. Willard is also survived by one brother, Arthur Whitacre of Bradenton, Florida; six grandchildren, Melissa (Richard) Chizman, Chris Vancil, Mark Stegall, Sherry (Dave) Rhoades, Jenifer (Ben) Carlisle, and Dan (Amanda) Kemp; eight great grandchildren; and one great great grandson. Along with his wife and daughter, Willard was preceded in death by two brothers, Don Whitacre and Mike Whitacre; and one sister, Joan O’Doneld. 

Mr. Whitacre’s work history was marked by dedication. For 36 years, he served as an office clerk for the C.B.&Q. Railroad and the Burlington Northern, until his retirement in 1987. He was respected by colleagues for his commitment, diligence, and professional achievements. 

Passionate about music, Willard found great joy in playing the guitar, whistling, and singing in a barbershop quartet. His love of the outdoors often saw him with a fishing rod in hand, enjoying nature’s serene beauty. He was also a well-traveled man, cherishing the moments spent on trips with his wife Stella, with Florida being a favorite destination. 

Willard’s life resonated with love, joy, hard work, and a deep appreciation for life’s simple pleasures. His passing leaves a void in our hearts, but his memories and legacy will continue to inspire and guide us. His was truly a life well-lived and he will be deeply missed. 

Cremation will be accorded. A private family service and celebration of life will be held at a later date. Scattering of cremated remains will be at East Linwood Cemetery Scattering Gardens, Galesburg. Arrangements have been entrusted to Watson Thomas Funeral Home and Crematory, Galesburg. Memorial contributions may be made in Willard’s memory St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Online expressions of sympathy may be sent to the family at www.wastonthomas.com.  

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