Thomas M. Willis, 85, passed away on March 26th, 2014. Tom is survived by his loving wife of almost 65 years, Thelma Willis, as well as by his three children, daughter-in-law and two sons-in law; Craig and Judy Willis, Bill and Jennifer Brown, and Terry and Pam Canup. His loving grandchildren include Cleve Willis, Steven Willis, Chris Brown, Stephanie Brown, Whitney and Daniel Hardigree, Kaylin Canup and Mattie Canup, as well as his great granddaughter, Maci Hardigree. Tom was born in 1928 in Kyles Ford, Tennessee and grew up as the eldest of four children. Tom and his brothers and sister all learned the value of education and hard work from their parents and carried those values with them throughout their lives. His brother, Marvin Willis of Amarillo, Texas, is his only surviving sibling. In 1946, Tom joined the Army and was stationed at Camp Stoneman in Pittsburg, California. He then served in Korea. During his service, Tom worked as a postal clerk. This training led him to his future career with the Post Office, which he began as a postal carrier. With hard work, he advanced through the years to become a Postal Inspector. His career led him from Tennessee to South Carolina and then to Georgia. In July of 1949, he married Thelma Willis. He had seen Thelma on the steps of her high school. As soon as he saw her, he decided he was going to marry her. Thelma took some convincing from Tom that he was in fact her future husband, but obviously they made the right decision. The two of them worked side by side for nearly 65 years to build a wonderful life for themselves as well as for their children. Tom always valued education and made sure that all three of his children were educated. Tom loved to read, a habit he acquired from his father. Hardly a day went by that he didn’t have a book or a crossword puzzle in his hand. (He was one of those who used a pen to complete the crossword puzzle!) Tom was a man of many talents and skills. Although he kept the talent hidden for most of his life, Tom was also a fantastic cook. He made a vegetable stew that was unrivaled. He also was skilled at carpentry, which he enjoyed as a “hobby.” His children most definitely benefited from his help through the years in creating room additions, adding decks, etc. Tom also felt a close bond with the members of his Sunday School class at Hebron Baptist Church. He loved the camaraderie with his fellow members and made many long-term relationships there. A memorial service and celebration of Tom’s life will be held on April 6th, 2014 at Hebron Baptist Church at 2:00 pm. Guests are invited to join the family for visitation and food immediately following the service. Per Tom’s request, the family asks that donations be made to the church in lieu of flowers. Donations should be made to: Hebron Baptist Church, 202 Hebron Church Road, Dacula, GA 30019 . Please indicate on the donation it is for “Widows Ministry.”

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  1. Tom was a lovely person and will be missed so much by so many, I feel honored to have known him and been friends with him.
    Rest in peace Tom.

  2. I always knew him as Uncle T.M. (my mom’s brother) He (along with Thelma) was always good to my mom and to our family. He was what you expect an Uncle to be. A great example of a brother, father, husband, son, etc. He raised a Great Family! Treated us when we got together. Gave good advice. Was very practical, approachable and down to earth. He always did more than his fair share. He was very consistent for the 45+ years I was able to know him. So I was in Washington DC the day he passed. I had always wanted to go to the Postal Museum there, but had put it off in the past. So on his last day here on earth, I went to the postal museum (which includes a Postal Inspector section) as a way to honor and connect with him. Uncle T.M. and I had a good time reminiscing about the Good ol days on that day! He did life right!

  3. Uncle T.M. will be missed by all who knew him. He was an amazing man. Personally he meant so much to me and my family. He was always there with a kind word or advice. I will never forget the many ways he helped me through the years. Those of us who were lucky enough to know him have truly been blessed. He will be missed, but never forgotten.

  4. As a younger brother, I always looked up to T. M. Even today in many situations I stop and think “Well, what would T. M. do?”

  5. Uncle T.M. was one of the influential men in my life. He was the kind of person I always looked forward to seeing and having a conversation. Every time he told me a story about his work over the years or some other situation he always ended with a smile that asked a question of some sort like ” well what do you think of that?” He spoke volumes with very few words and I still draw from that and smile when I think of him.

  6. I mostly know TM through the eyes of his daughter, my dear friend, Jennifer. Over the past 12 years, her characterization of her dad -his wisdom, love and kind acts will surely leave a wonderful legacy for his family. It has been such an inspiration to hear how the siblings and the grandchildren of TM ministered to his needs while his health declined and continue to pull together to honor and celebrate TM in his passing from this earthly life to eternal life. May God comfort each of you deeply, now and in the days ahead as you remember your beloved father, grandfather and great grandfather.
    My prayer for you all comes from Philippians 4:7 That …”the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard you hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

  7. Uncle T.M. was an awesome man and I always enjoyed his company (Thelma too) when I visited him while stationed at Ft Benning GA or going to a Braves game throughout the years. He was the role model for many and did a fantastic job in raising his family and helping many others with his kind heart and brilliant advise. We would swap military stories and he would share things about my mom (his sister) while growing up. I learned about rental property from him and his influence is why I have rental property now. Uncle T.M. was great with his hands and had many talents in making items for the house or gifts out of wood. I miss Uncle T.M., but his life lessons, memories, and the gifts he shared will last a lifetime.

  8. Tom was a wonderful and generous neighbor. It was a joy living next to them since we moved here in Aug. 2009.
    Our first visitor to our new home was Thelma bringing us muffins. Wonderful people, a pleasure to know.

    We thank God that He brought Tom and Thelma into our lives

  9. I met Tom on or about July 25, 1963–some 50 plus years ago. That was the day we were appointed to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and began our training in Washington, DC.. We ate dinner together frequently and encouraged each other to complete the training. When we completed the basic program, Tom was assigned to the Atlanta Division and I to the Cincinnati Division. Our paths crossed again several years later when I transferred to the Atlanta Division. Eventually, we were both domiciled in Atlanta where we renewed our friendship.
    Tom was a fine person–through and through. He was there to help any way he could. I considered him a good friend. May he rest in peace.
    All the best to Thelma.

  10. We are so sorry for your loss. T. M. was a great man with a kind heart. He will certainly be missed.
    Love, Will & Kelly

  11. I worked with Tom for close to 15 years in the Atlanta Division. He was one of my trainers when I reached my first domicile in Asheville. Through the years, I came to know Tom as a man of high character, thoughtful, cordial, witty and extremely knowledgeable in his profession. Although I didn’t see Tom after 1980-81, he remained special to me through my memories of the good times we shared working together. My sympathies to Thelma and their family.

  12. Thelma, Jennifer and Pam— I was just in Lawrenceville this evening and heard about your recent loss. I am so very sorry. My thought and prayers are with all of you this evening.

  13. Thelma, Jennifer and Pam— I was just in Lawrenceville this evening and heard about your recent loss. I am so very sorry. My thoughts and prayers are with all of you this evening.

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