Willis Robert Marks died peacefully August 10, 2019 at Mountainside Residential Care Center, Margaretville, NY. He was 97 years old.
Willis was born on July 31, 1922 in Margaretville to his parents, Raymond and Bina (Davis) Marks.
He was married July 6, 1946 to Elizabeth Virginia Guthrie for 59 years.
Willis was predeceased by his parents; his wife Virginia (Ginny) Marks; his daughter, Vicki Marks Sweeney; his brother Glen Marks; and companion and friend Sally Ann Van Benschoten.
He is survived by his daughter, Cathy Hinkley (Douglas), son Gary Marks (Terry), and grandchildren, Amy Tompkins (Tom), Beth Bush (Charlie), Jeremey Marks (Julia), Nathan Marks (Betsy) and Kevin Sweeney.
He is also survived by his great grandchildren: Rhiannon Kearns, Brandon Bush, Ethan Bush, Taylor Hinkley, Ashley Tompkins, Amelia Marks, Everley Marks, Tessa Marks, Charlotte Marks, Cora Marks and Willis (Will) Marks. Also surviving are his sister-in-law Charlotte Marks (Glen), sonin law Rob Sweeney, longtime family friend, Fran Faulkner, and many nephews and nieces.
Willis graduated from Margaretville Central School where he was a member of the first class to graduate from the current school building on Main Street.
He proudly served in the Army during WWII and was a Squadron Leader during that time.
After the war, he joined the American Legion where he was a member for over 70 years and served as both Post Commander and District Commander.
During his working years he served not only as Postmaster and then Margaretville Village Clerk, but was also employed as an accredited NYS Real Estate Appraiser for Thorne Appraisals. Following that he established his own Real Estate and Appraisal business and Insurance Agency until retirement.
Willis was an active leader and volunteer in his community throughout his working years and beyond.
He was quoted as saying “What I got out of it was serving the community. It wasn’t about remuneration. It was a small part of a small town working for the community.”
Among other honors he was named a Keene A. Roadman Citizen of the year for his 10 years as one of the first team of ambulance drivers for Margaretville Memorial Hospital.
He was member and Lay Leader of the Margaretville Methodist Church for many years and was an accredited Lay Speaker there. Although not a member of any choir, he had a hum-along appreciation of music.
He was an active member of the Margaretville Rotary Club for over 60 years, serving two terms as President. He was subsequently honored by being named a Paul Harris Fellow.
Willis was a sports enthusiast, especially when it came to the NY Yankees. He attended the final game in the old Yankee stadium. He was also always on the sidelines rooting for MCS soccer, basketball and baseball teams.
Willis and Ginny enjoyed many retirement years wintering in New Port Richey, Florida. They happily spent their summers in Margaretville, close to family and friends. And beyond that, they were fortunate to have been able to travel widely.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, The American Cancer Society or the Margaretville United Methodist Church.
A celebration of his life will be held at the Margaretville United Methodist Church at 2:00 pm on Friday, August 16, 2019. Committal will be held at another date to be determined. Funeral arrangements were made by Hynes Funeral Home.