Francis M. Willey

Sept. 6, 1936 - Jan. 3, 2010

Francis M. Willey, 73, of Palmyra, passed away Sunday, Jan. 3, 2010, at Fort Memorial Hospital.

He was born Sept. 6, 1936, to Silas and Mildred (nee Ridgley) Willey. Francis married Judith Lyons on Sept. 14, 1957 in North Prairie. Francis was a hardworking, devoted man that had a heart of gold and was nothing but pure goodness. He retired from Waukesha Foundry and the Department of Natural Resources. He was a volunteer firefighter in Troy Center and Big Bend for many years. He was Santa’s helper for many years and devoted his life to family, helping those children in need by being a foster parent. Although the family never owned a farm, he enjoyed his time working on several area farms.

He is survived by his children, Terry (Brenda), Pamela (William) Lurvey of Palmyra, Michael of Arizona, Timothy (Penny) of Whitewater, Mark (Debbie) of Whitewater, Steven (Ann) of Oconomowoc and Susan (Michael) Swanson of Whitewater. He is further survived by 20 grandchildren, 9 7/9 great-grandchildren; two brothers, Donald of Fox Lake and Silas of Arkansas; other relatives and many good friends. He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife, Judith, in 2007; brothers James and Robert and good friend Ron Fletcher. The family would like to thank the staff at Countryside Nursing Home in Jefferson for their compassionate care of Francis.

Visitation will be held from 4 p.m. until the 7 p.m. funeral services Wednesday, Jan. 6, at Mealy’s Funeral Home, 320 W. Main St., Palmyra. The Rev. Duane Goetsch will be officiating. Burial will be Thursday, Jan., 7, 2010 at Siloam Cemetery.

Mealy’s Funeral Home in Palmyra, 495-2127, is assisting the family. For online obituary and guest registry go to