December 11, 1931 ~ November 23, 2020

Born in: Stonega, VA
Resided in: Lawrenceville, GA

Thelma E. (Dishner) Willis

Thelma E. Willis, 88, of Lawrenceville, GA, lost her battle with Alzheimer’s disease on Monday, November 23, 2020
while surrounded by her family. She was born on December 11 th , 1931 in Stonega, VA, to Elizabeth and Clarence
Dishner. She eloped and married the love of her life, Thomas M. Willis, in July, 1949, who preceded her death in
2014 after 64 years of marriage.

Thelma is survived by her three children, daughter-in-law and two sons-in-laws; Craig and Judy Willis, Bill and
Jennifer Brown, and Terry and Pam Canup. Her loving grandchildren include Cleve Willis, Steven and Nina Willis,
Christopher and Rhiannon Brown, Stephanie and Matthew Norton, Whitney and Daniel Hardigree, Kaylin and
Oliver Pratt, and Mattie and Kyle Carroll, as well as her great grandchildren, Arya Willis, Rhys Brown, Maci
Hardigree, Madison Hardigree, Meredith Hardigree, and Everrette Pratt.

Thelma grew up the youngest daughter of the Dishner kids, Frances (Olterman), Betty (Storey), and Bill Dishner.
She had a vivacious personality, was in the 4H Club, and a cheerleader at Lynn Garden High School in Kingsport,
TN. Known for her red hair and blue eyes, she stood out amongst the crowd and made all the boys head spin.

In 1949, one of those boys told his friends he was going to marry that redheaded cheerleader. While it took some
convincing from Tom, Thelma and Tom began their journey which lead them to Greenville, SC, Chamblee, GA, and
then Lawrenceville, where they enjoyed their retirement.

Thelma ran the household while keeping close eye over her three children. Since Tom traveled a lot, she played the
mother, father, and disciplinarian when it came to the kids. Later in life she held numerous positions at Sears and
then went on to be responsible for residential property leasing for the family business. She had an eye for interior
decorating and always had creative and helpful suggestions for friends and family.

She will be remembered as an excellent role model for her children and grandchildren, loving wife to Daddy TM,
talented seamstress (made clothes for girls), outstanding cook (famous spaghetti), Thanksgiving and Christmas at
the Willis’, and a devout and faithful servant to God. She was clearly the matriarch of the Willis extended family.

A private service to celebrate Thelma’s life is planned. The family asks that any donations be made to the
Alzheimer’s Association or your local Hospice organization.

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  1. CandleImageMy condolences to the Willis family. It was my pleasure to have been a caregiver for Ms. Thelma for 4 and 1/2 years. Ms. Thelma had such a beautiful spirit. I will truly miss her. May God continue to bless each and every one.
    Cassandra Thomas

  2. CandleImageMy condolences to the Willis Family, I am deeply sorry for your loss. What a blessing to have known and worked for Ms. Thelma. I really miss her, she was so kind, loving & generous, a true loving mom to all.

  3. CandleImageMy condolences to the Willis family, I am deeply sorry for your loss. I feel truly Blessed to have had the opportunity to know and work for Ms. Thelma. I really miss her. She was so kind, loving and giving, a true loving Mom to all.

  4. Cassandra, thank you for bringing a lot of joy and laughter into Thelma’s home. Best wishes for the holidays…we’ll miss you.

  5. My mother-in-law, Thelma, had a smile that could light up a room. When Craig introduced me to her for the first time, she immediately gave me that big smile, ran over to give me a big hug, and welcomed me for dinner. T.M. was grilling burgers outside and Thelma was slicing tomatoes and cantaloupe. Cleve and his friend John were running around the house playing with their Superman action figures. The entire family made me feel right at home. Thelma was the most loving and giving person I’ve ever known. She always wanted to know if there was something she could do to help, from babysitting to sewing curtains to giving advice or a pep talk. She truly cared about people, treated everyone with respect, loved her family and let them know it. To me, she was an angel and I will always miss her.

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