Obituary and Condolences

Gary L. Willey

October 4, 1953 October 26, 2018
Gary  L. Willey
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Obituary for Gary L. Willey

Gary L. Willey, 65, of Solon, IA, passed away Friday, October 26, 2018 at his home surrounded by family. He was diagnosed with cancer in September of 2016. He fought this battle with strength, integrity, and a positive attitude to the very last day. A Funeral Service will be held at 10AM, Thursday, November 1, 2018 at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Solon, IA. Visitation will be held from 4-7 PM, Wednesday, at the church. Burial will be in Oakland Cemetery with full military honors. Memorials may be made to Iowa City Hospice, Solon Fire Department, or Solon American Legion.

Gary was born on October 4, 1953 in Waterloo, IA the son of Melvin and Donna Willey. They lived in Wyoming, IA, later moving to Marion where he attended Marion High School. He served as a Field Artillery Battery and Nuclear Weapons Specialist in the United States Marine Corps from 1974 to 1979, Active duty and then Reserves. On September 8, 1979 Gary married Sandy Smith at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Solon. Gary and Sandy lived and raised their three sons near Solon. His family was his greatest joy; he loved spending time with them fishing, cooking, and gardening. He had a passion for music, collecting albums from every genre. Wherever he was, he enjoyed just sitting back and listening to the music from a portable device or his collected albums spinning on a turntable. For the last several months he cherished the times his son played his guitar and sang to him; and quite often Gary would sing along. Gary retired in 2014 after 38 years of working as an assistant foreman for the Union Pacific railroad.

Gary is survived by his wife, Sandy; three sons, Dustin and Adam of Solon, IA and Chase of Iowa City; a brother, Dennis Willey of Cedar Rapids, IA; six brothers and sisters-in-law, Dan (Barb) Smith, Theresa (Rick) Mayhew, Jeff (Carmen) Smith , Pat (Michelle) Smith all of Solon, IA, Deb (Neil) Behr of Gilberts, IL, and Sherry (Mike) Whetstone of Ely, IA; and many nieces and nephews.

Gary was preceded in death by his parents, Melvin and Donna Willey, in-laws, Vernon and Maxine Smith, nephew Brett Smith, and nieces Merrick Ham and Kaitlyn Behr.

Gary will be remembered as the gentle giant, hardworking, loving, compassionate, and easy-going husband, father, brother, and uncle.

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Previous Events





4:00 PM 10/31/2018 4:00:00 PM - 7:00 PM 10/31/2018 7:00:00 PM
St. Mary's Catholic Church -- Solon

1749 Racine Avenue NE
Solon, IA 52333

St. Mary's Catholic Church -- Solon
1749 Racine Avenue NE Solon 52333 IA
United States





10:00 AM 11/1/2018 10:00:00 AM
St. Mary's Catholic Church -- Solon

1749 Racine Avenue NE
Solon, IA 52333

St. Mary's Catholic Church -- Solon
1749 Racine Avenue NE Solon 52333 IA
United States

Cemetery Details


Oakland Cemetery, Solon Final Resting Place

Solon, Iowa
Solon, Iowa 52333

Solon, Iowa Solon 52333 Iowa
United States

Memorial Contribution

Solon Fire Department

131 N. Iowa St
Solon, Iowa 52333

Solon American Legion

222 E Main St
Solon, Iowa 52333

Iowa City Hospice

1025 Wade Street
Iowa City, IA 52240

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