John Kenneth Wills

November 4, 1930 - November 1, 2019
John Kenneth Wills


John Kenneth “Jack” Wills died peacefully at Davis Health Care Center on November 1, 2019 after a years-long gradual multi-system failure following an unfortunate cardiac laceration during a catheterization.  He was born in California and graduated from Van Nuys High School.  He served honorably in the Air Force, traveling to (and photographing) many European destinations.  He was noted as an expert marksman. Upon discharge, he served in the National Guard.

John’s first marriage to the late Jerine Wills produced their three children, but ended in divorce after many years, as did a brief second marriage to Carol Wills.  His third marriage in 1980 to Diane Wills lasted almost thirty-seven years. John met his third wife on a Park and Ride bus route from Long Beach, California they each traveled daily into downtown Los Angeles, where she worked for the Los Angeles Times and he for the Los Angeles City Fire Department.  They became acquainted on those long commutes, and “the third time was the charm” as they liked to say.  They both enjoyed music and dancing.  John retired from his lengthy career as a Fire Inspector, one where he was often assigned around the Southland to movie or concert detail.

In early retirement, John and his wife travelled extensively by air, sea, and motor home – even on adventure travel such as white-water rafting trips, camping in remote locations, casino trips to Laughlin or Las Vegas Nevada, snorkeling at island destinations, and more.  John also had an amateur interest in geology and landscape photography, which took him to many interesting sights in the West.

After moving from Long Beach, California, he and Diane lived in Wilmington, North Carolina over twenty-five years, primarily in Scotts Hill.  An animal lover, John and his wife were never without a canine or feline companion – usually both, and sometimes several. Even rescued wildlife was occasionally in the mix.

John was preceded in death by his parents John Charles Wills and Muriel Sibley Wills, his youngest son John Marvin Wills, and, his wife Diane Wills who died in 2017.  John is survived by his sons Mark Wills (Chatsworth California), and Paul Wills (Long Beach, California); his brother Don Wills (Wasatch County, Utah);  step-daughters Heather McLaren (Leland, NC) and Holly (Pat) Swyney  (Santa Clarita, CA); grandchildren: Katie Wills Morrow (Andrew), Ryan Wills (Alyssa), Margaret Ham (Daniel), Mairead Swyney and Sean Swyney, as well as one great-grandson, Robert Ham.  Another great-grandchild (of Katie & Andrew Morrow) is due later this month.

A graveside service for John will occur on Sunday, December 1, 2019 at 1:00PM at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church’s memorial garden in Hampstead, NC with interment (beside his wife Diane) following. The Reverend Ron Abrahms will officiate.

Donations in John’s memory may be made to any Firefighters, Veterans, or First-Responders charity of the donor’s choice, or to: Widows, Orphans & Disabled Firefighter’s Fund   PO Box 41903,  Los Angeles, CA 90041.  (The official charity of the Los Angeles Firemen’s Relief Association.)

John’s family thanks the dedicated and caring workers at Cornelia Nixon Davis Health Care Center.

Please share memories and condolences with the family by clicking on the ” Post a Condolence” tab below.

Wilmington Funeral & Cremation, 1535 S. 41st Street, Wilmington NC 28403

910.791.9099


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  • November 09, 2019
    Mark Wills says:
    My Father was wonderful person as a kid we went camping fishing and even on a boat trips many times with his father in the ocean in San Clemente .ca where he lived with his wife Muriel he loved to travel when we were kids whether it be in a trailer or pitching a tent in the mountains somewhere, he was great at building many things growing up whether it be shelves to building a big cage for my birds we had all kinds of animals growing up in Van Nuys .ca and he loved to garden especially growing tomatoes to even pumpkins in our back yard he was a special person like know other working hard to raise 3 boys ,I will miss him dearly being his first born, and my heart goes out to his extended family and may be be at peace now it's a loss to me as he was close to me but lived so far away from California he and Diane were a wonderful couple when they first met and from day one she was the best thing that happened to him I still miss her letters telling me how my Father was doing he was a strong willed person all the heath issues he went through in his letter years he missed his 89 th birthday by a couple days may be be at peace now

  • November 09, 2019
    Mark Wills says:
    I will truly miss my Father he worked hard to raise 3 boys growing up in Van Nuys .ca he was a great Craftsman whether it be building shelves in be house or building a cage for the many different types of animals growing up, he took us camping many times over the years a station wagon pulling a trailer or just pitching a tent his Father was Fire Captain and I remember his father taking us on boat trips fishing out in the ocean when he and my grandmother Muriel lived in San Clemente .ca Diane his wife used to write me many times over the years telling me how they were doing after they moved to Wilmington NC , he was a strong willed person the many health problems he had he always seemed to recover he had a long life and now he's finally at peace my heart goes out to the extended family members, I will truly miss him, he missed his 89th Birthday by a couple days he had a long life