Gene (Leslie E. Willis, CWO-2, USN, Ret.)

Subj: TAPS!
Date: 11/21/2003 9:58:55 PM Eastern Standard Time

It is with deep regret that I write this e-mail. Gene (Leslie E. Willis, CWO-2, USN, ret.) passed away on the 10th of this month.

He battled chronic renal disease for seven years, living on dialysis for 3 years and 4 months. In August, we found out that he had Myelodisplasia and it was downhill from there. He lived long enough to see CRSC pay for five months.

He fought a good fight but spent his last 13 days in the hospital in Tyler, TX where our oldest daughter is a nurse. I was able to stay in the room with him the whole time. Gene had been in Houston VAMC from August 9th through September 11th. We had a thirty day hotel bill down there, spending the last couple of nights in his room. This was where he had his first bone marrow biopsy. He had another biopsy in Tyler because we were unable to get complete records from VA.

The hematology department didn't set up an appointment until Nov. 3rd but by then Gene had had three platelet transfusions and one whole blood transfusion since the 7th of October. Gene had 5 chemo treatments but with so little known of the effect of chemo on dialysis patients, it was a chance we had to take as transfusions were not working.

Gene will be missed by many people. He was one of the two original members of the volunteer Fire Department in Appleby so had fire fighters for active and honorary pall bearers and had an honor guard at the cemetary.

Love and best wishes to all,

Millie Willis

Don't grieve for me, for now I'm free.
I'm following the path God laid, you see.
I took His hand when I heard Him call;
I turned my back and left it all.

I could not stay another day -
To laugh, to love, to work , or play.
Tasks left undone must stay that way;
I found that peace at the close of the day.

If my parting has left a void,
Fill it now with remembered joy.
A friendship shared, a laugh. a kiss;
Oh yes, these things i , too will miss.

Be not burdened with times of sorrow -
I wish you the sunshine of tomorrow.
My life's been full, i savored much;
Good friends, good times,
A loved one's touch.

Perhaps my time seemed all too brief;
Don't lengthen it now with undue grief
Lift up your hearts, and peace to thee -
God wanted me now...He set me free.

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:::::::::::::::::::::: USS PROVIDENCE ASSOCIATION ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

The Passing of a Warrior
Today one of our brothers
has gone on to the far side of the wall
There he walks again among his friends
his honored kin and comrades Tonight there is a hole in my heart
I ache for the loss of my brother
though I rejoice in his rejoining
on the far side of the wall Tonight a calm soul
and a dignified friend
has found his peace at last
on the far side of the wall Tonight my long passed brothers
welcome one of our own
whole and smiling again
to the far side of the wall Tonight there will be tears
a remembrance of him here
fond stories and hard grief
but not on the far side of the wall Tonight our lives turn a shade darker
We are all made to see a little starker
but only for us, this pain falls
My sincere condolences to you and the family. I am passing your email on to members of USS PROVIDENCE Association and their families.

YNCS Don Harribine, USN(Ret)


I was sorry to hear of the passing of Chief Warrant Willis. It sounds as though he had a rough time of it near the end.

I can't give you specific dates that involve him, but I do know that I served under him in E Division in '67-'68. In my cruise book he is listed as WO1 L. E. Willis. I want to think that he was our division officer but I wouldn't bet on that.

He was a decent, good guy and it was my pleasure to work for and with him.

Jim Broyles