Rhoda Jean Wills, age 73, of Munising and formerly of Gwinn, died early Saturday morning, January 11, 2020 at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan following an unexpected illness. She was born on December 25, 1946 in Danville, Illinois to John and Rosemary (Gunn) Cronk. Rhoda moved to Superior, Wisconsin as a young girl and graduated from Central High School in 1965. She then went to UW Stout and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Education in 1969. Rhoda taught the lost art of home economics for five years in Maple, Wisconsin. She then entered into the U.S. Air Force on June 13, 1974 and worked as a medical assistant where she specialized in obstetrics. Rhoda was stationed at KI Sawyer Air Force Base. It was there where she met a handsome bartender, Stephen Wills. Rhoda was honorably discharged from the Air Force on August 30, 1977. She and Steve were married on July 1, 1978, and they raised their daughters in Gwinn where Rhoda was supportive of her daughter’s Modeltowner endeavors. She taught U.S. History and Home Economics in Gwinn she retired from teaching there in 2006. Rhoda didn’t just teach, she loved being a teacher. The Wills family purchased a cottage on 16 Mile Lake in 1990 and summer vacations and weekend memories were made at the lake. The lake cottage permanently became home, first in their hearts and then in 1999 after Steve retired. In their retirement, they both substitute taught in Munising and enjoyed traveling together. Rhoda especially enjoyed traveling to different Civil War monuments and battlefields. She was a gifted in many of the hobbies she had over the years which included sewing, knitting, crocheting, ceramics, and gardening. Rhoda enjoyed golfing, reading, and playing cards with family and friends. She loved spending time with her grandchildren and visiting Ohio. Rhoda was a fun lady who told it like it was, she had an infectious laugh, and she never met a stranger.
She is survived by her husband of over forty-one years – Steve Wills of Munising; their daughters – Katie (Ryan) Anderson of Munising and Sarah (Lisa Marsh) Wills of Hilliard, OH; beloved grandchildren – Ireland and Cooper Anderson; brother – Charles Cronk; brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law – Steve Mankey, Linda Bradley, David (Judy) Wills, Nancy (Ray Gilkerson) Gibson, John Wills, Richard Wills, and Peggy (Tami McGowen) Wills; and numerous nieces and nephews. Rhoda was preceded in death by her parents John and Rosemary Cronk, her sister Char “Roxy” Mankey, and her parents-in-law – Brideson and Bernice Wills.
Services will be held at the Bowerman Funeral Home on Saturday, January 18, 2020. Visiting time with family and friends will be from 12:00 p.m. until 3:00 p.m. Rhoda’s memorial service will be held in the funeral home’s chapel at 3:00 p.m. and will begin with military honors conducted by the Alger County Veterans Council and American Legion and Vietnam Veterans Honor Guard. Rev. John McFadden will conduct Rhoda’s service.
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