September 8, 1938 - January 20, 2022
Gorham Ralph B. Willis, known by all as “Skip”, passed away at his shop on Thursday, January 20th, 2022. Skip was born in Westbrook, Maine on September 8, 1938 to Bertha (Bridges) and Ralph Morse Willis and attended primary and secondary school in both Guilford and Gorham, Maine. He graduated from the University of Maine at Orono in 1960 with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. Skip married Gloria Virginia Golden on August 15, 1959, and they moved to Massachusetts where Skip took a job at Polaroid Corporation. He was a member of the Polaroid design team that created the SX-70 camera and film which is shown on the TV programs “Modern Marvels: 70’s Tech” and “101 Gadgets That Changed the World”. While in Massachusetts, he also completed the Financial Management course from Boston University, as well as a course in Restoration and Moving of Historical Buildings from Harvard Graduate School Seminary. While at Polaroid Corporation in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Skip moved from Design Engineer to Senior Engineer. In 1972, the family returned to Maine so that Skip could start his own company, Willis Moving & Rigging. There, he specialized in the diagnosis and repair of faulty sections of buildings as well as moving buildings and heavy machinery. He ran this successful company for decades until joining Data General’s Westbrook plant, serving in Engineering, Purchasing, and Facilities Supervisory capacities. Skip led a life of service, modeling it to his children and grandchildren. Over his lifetime, Skip served as the Facilities Supervisor and Chairman of the Board of Trustees at Galilee Baptist Church in Gorham. He was also member of the Finance Committee, the Board of Deacons, and the Board of Trustees at Little Falls Baptist Church, served on the Board of Directors at Camp Berea, and as a board member and mentor at the Hudson Massachusetts Boys Club. He also served on the Board of Directors at Gorham Savings Bank where he was recognized by his ever-ready smile, amiable disposition, and sharp wit. Skip will be remembered for his service to God, his community, his family, and his neighbors. He was a very patient and kind teacher; willing to train all young drivers to operate the stick-shift in the blue “tug”. He was known for his ability to improvise fixes for anything (and improve upon those things that didn’t need fixing), his ability to build anything, his incredible memory of everything that has ever happened in Gorham, his profound kindness, and his willingness to help anyone, anywhere, at any time. Skip was a teacher and a mentor to his kids, grandkids, and many others. He passed on his smarts and mechanical aptitude and leaves his family with a rich legacy of service to others, a deep love of God, and the importance of always being kind. Skip is survived by his wife of 62 years Gloria, his four children, Diana Snee and husband Gary, Jeff Willis and wife Norma, Janet MacLeod, and Lori Willis Rumery and husband Phil; grandchildren Nicole Fairweather and husband Josh, Carolyn Snee, Kyle Willis and wife Mary, Colby Willis, Sarah MacLeod and wife Marissa Berry, Shawn Rumery, Christopher Rumery; and three great-grandchildren, Brooke Kazimer, Elliana Colimon and Caleb Fairweather, all of whom he loved dearly. Skip had a wonderfully large family, including sister Adma Willis, sister Sandra Severance and husband Michael, brother Larry Willis and wife Brenda, brother Paul Willis, and his youngest brother Steve and wife Roberta. Skip was predeceased by his sister-in-law, Jan (Reid) Willis. Skip had many, many nieces and nephews, cousins, and extended family whom he loved. Skip also loved all of his neighbors on the Willis compound. He shared so much of himself with “new” neighbors Noah Kerrigan, Matt Wasco, and Justin Madore and their families as each family arrived to the compound. Skip had a wonderful friendship with Tom Hasbrouck and with his “burn pile” co-watchman, Bob McGuire. He so enjoyed working with Jerald Cunningham on Farm projects. He loved receiving fresh produce from Paul Rogers’ garden. He loved working with Don Nichols on projects and puttering at Galilee with his church family. Skip loved to be needed, and needed he was. We will all feel the loss of his presence acutely. Visiting Hours will be held from 2:00PM – 4:00PM Sunday January 30, at the Gorham Chapel of Dolby, Blais & Segee, 76 State Street, Gorham. Masks will be provided for anyone who forgets to bring one. A memorial service for Skip will be announced in the spring. To express condolences and to participate in Skip’s online tribute please visit www.DolbyBlaisSegee.com Skip was so humbled when he received thank you notes from pre-engineering students who had benefited from the SMCC scholarship created in his honor by Gorham Savings bank upon his retirement. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Ralph B. “Skip” Willis and Gorham Savings Bank Scholarship Fund administered through The Foundation for Maine’s Community College by visiting https://www.maineccfoundation.org/
Gorham Ralph B. Willis, known by all as “Skip”, passed away at his shop on Thursday, January 20th, 2022. Skip was born in Westbrook, Maine on September 8, 1938 to Bertha (Bridges) and Ralph Morse Willis and attended primary and... View Obituary & Service Information
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Ralph B. Willis, known by all as “Skip”, passed away...
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