Robert Gene Willis was born on July 11, 1942 to the late Jesse Willis and Blanche Gass in Belwood, North Carolina. Affectionately known as Doc, he was educated in Elizabeth Public Schools where he was known statewide for his superb basketball skills at Thomas Edison High School, now known as Elizabeth High School. After graduation, Doc enlisted into the United States Army where he served proudly. Following his military service, Doc became a Postal Worker with the United States Postal Service in Newark until his retirement. In 1969, Doc met the love of his life, Nellie, and they took their vows before God on December 28, 1972. From their union, they were blessed with their pride and joy, Radee. His love for Radee, coupled with his love of sports, fueled Doc’s passion for coaching and led to years of preparing young athletes in basketball, football, baseball, and boxing. Doc also loved the game of pool and instructed those interested in the game at various pool halls; among them Hi-Cue, West End and 1&9 Billiards. Among other things he loved was bike riding, playing tennis and most of all, spending time with his family. Doc was an avid card player and enjoyed time socializing at the Stephen Sampson Senior Center in Elizabeth. He was a member of Roseville AME Zion Church in Staten Island, NY under the leadership of Rev. Janet Jones where he served as Chairman of the Men’s Ministry and a faithful choir member. Doc departed this life on Sunday, March 27, 2022, peacefully surrounded by his loving family at the age of 79. He was predeceased by his parents Jesse Willis and Blanche Gass and one sister, Jessie Franklin. He leaves to cherish wonderful memories and is survived by his loving wife of 50 years Nellie June Richmond-Willis of Roselle, NJ; one beloved son Radee Willis Sr., of Roselle, NJ; one brother Loucious Willis of Elizabeth, NJ and one uncle Jerome Gass Jr. (Madeline), of Shelby, NC. He was the beloved “Pop” to six beautiful grandchildren, Radee II, Ja’quan, Kimajh, Tajunai, Raya, and Jase and three great grandchildren Saniyah, Rahquil and Mateo. Doc also leaves behind a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, and other family and friends.
You may join the service on zoom Meeting ID: 849 2074 1926 Passcode: 425141.
A celebration of his life will be held on Saturday, April 2, 2022, at 10:00am at the New Zion Baptist Church 800 Flora Street Elizabeth, NJ. Visitation 9:00am until time of service. Arrangements are in the loving care of the Nesbitt Funeral Home 165 Madison Avenue Elizabeth, NJ.
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