Kenneth Elmore Willetts

July 27, 1950 - October 25, 2020
Kenneth Elmore Willetts


A kind and gentle man ended his journey Sunday October 25, 2020 and went home to his creator.

Kenneth Elmore Willetts was born on July 27, 1950 at James Walker Hospital in Wilmington NC. He is preceded by death by his parents, Elmore Willetts and Louise Johnson Willetts, and his in-laws, Harry Henry Heissner and Gloria Parangelo Heissner, whom he adored and had a wonderful relationship with.

Surviving is his wife of 32 years, Patrice Heissner Willetts, his loving daughter Victoria Louise Willetts O’Connor and her husband, Thomas O’Connor, of whom he was proud to call son-in-law. Kenneth was the oldest of 5 children, surviving him are his siblings, Jerry Dale Willetts and his wife Susan; William Walker Willetts; Rebecca Willetts Jackson and Charles Willetts. Family also includes Debbie Ensor Willetts and Sam Edwards. Kenneth was very proud of his nieces and nephews; Nathan Kye and wife Kimberly; Valerie Willetts Young and her husband Justin; Jessica Willetts Ryhanych and her husband Andrew; Morgan Willetts Bullard and her husband Jeremy, Jennifer Willetts Schrom and her husband Josh, Patrick Willetts and his wife Jordan. Also survived are numerous great nieces and nephews, cousins and dear friends.

Kenneth grew up on the family farm in Winnabow, NC. He worked at Dupont and then with his father at their community store. He then worked for 30 years at Progress Energy Nuclear Power Plant in Southport, retiring a few years ago. Kenneth also had his real estate license for almost 40 years. He found so much joy in helping Tony Harrington, Broker-in-charge at The Property Shop International, with behind the scene activities. He was especially proud to be involved and supportive of the brokers at our firm. Always willing to help with signs, measuring listings and helping with floor plans.

Kenneth was a Mason and enjoyed making a difference and being involved. For many years he drove the Thunderbolts for the Shrine Club. As an electrician, he volunteered for many years helping to set up the power that kept all the trees lit during the Hospice Festival of Trees when it was held at the Hilton in downtown Wilmington. One of the most important roles he proudly held was to be the best dad to his daughter, Victoria. They found hours of joy together at the barn with her horses, planning trips to horse shows and making sure all her tack was taken care of. He was the quiet strength behind both Victoria and Patrice.

Kenneth and Patrice married in 1987. They were blessed to have made many friends over the years through many different things they were involved in. Kenneth loved beach music and he loved to dance. One very special song defines Kenneth very well “So Easy To Love” which Kenneth was.

Due to the pandemic and our desire to not bring people together unnecessarily, the family has agreed to postpone a Celebration of Life until the Spring.

In lieu of flowers please consider a donation in Kenneth’s honor to The REALTOR® Relief Fund; The paws4people Foundation; Rotary International; Shriners; Lower Cape Fear Hospice; or in these uncertain times, find a way to volunteer your time or talent to make this world a better place.

Share memories and condolences with the family by clicking on the “Condolence” tab.

Wilmington Funeral & Cremation 1535 S. 41st Street, Wilmington, NC 28403 910-791-9099


Purchase Flowers

Tribute Wall

Please feel free to sign the guestbook or share a memory



Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  • October 28, 2020
    Sharon Brown says:
    Sending love and prayers for peace. He will be with you always. My husband went to his heavenly home 14 years ago. He is with me everyday, and I know we will be together again. Great love never dies. Bless you and family. Rest in peace Ken.

  • October 30, 2020
    Harriette Doggett says:
    Patrice, I am so sorry for your loss. No words can hurry what you were going through. Please know how much you’re being thought about and how deeply your wished the gentle comfort of sweet memories that I am sure are filling your heart.

  • October 30, 2020
    Harriette Doggett says:
    Patrice, I am so sorry for your loss. No words can hurry what you are going through. Please know how much you are being thought of and how deeply those thoughts are. My hope is that sweet memories fill your heart soon.

  • October 30, 2020
    Chuck, Homes & Land Magazine says:
    Patrice, You are in our thoughts and prayers

  • October 29, 2020
    Micki Fisher says:
    Patrice I sent message yesterday that did not show. You and Victoria are in my thoughts and prayers at this difficult time. Ken was such a wonderful man! He was so proud of you and loved you and his family so very much, May God hold you and Victoria close and give you comfort in the days ahead