Ida Willis was born on November 26, 1917, in Paris, Arkansas to the union of Charley and Lydia (Bates) Thomas.
She was raised in Paris with her older sister, Cecil, and attended school there. As a child she excelled in reading and spelling and competed against older students in spelling competitions. While growing up, Ida attended Poole Temple Church of God in Christ where her father was the assistant pastor. In 1935, Ida was united in marriage to John Henry Lewis and to their union seven children were born.
Later in life, she married Connie B. Willis in Altus, Oklahoma where they lived for many years until settling in Wichita, Kansas to be closer to family.
Among her many interesting jobs, Ida worked on the assembly line of a bomb making factory during World War II, she worked in a factory that made rain ponchos for Vietnam servicemen, and she also worked at a Green Giant food factory in Dover, Delaware. Ida loved children and started her own licensed daycare center, “Grandma’s Daycare,” in Wichita. For many years, Ida was a faithful member of Faith Mission Church of God in Christ where she served on the Mother’s Board. She later joined Greater Holy Temple Church of God in Christ where she remained a member until her demise.
On May 30, 2012, at the age of 94, Ida entered into eternal rest. She was preceded in death by her husband, Connie B. Willis, her parents, her sister, her daughter, Iowanna Lewis, and her son, Charles Lewis. She leaves to cherish her memory two daughters: Johanna Tucker and Wanda Ellerbe, both of Wichita; three sons: John Lewis (Cheryl) of Wichita, Mitchell Lewis of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and James Lewis of Wichita; nephews and nieces: Robert Kinnard, Charles Kinnard, Priscella “Pat” Brown, Gladys Brown, and Lydia Flurry, as well as a host of grandchildren, great-grandchildren, great-great grandchildren, great-nieces, great- nephews, cousins, and friends.
The final and sacred service of rememberance for Mother Willis will be held at 11:00 a.m. in the most holy sanctuary of Greater Holy Temple Church of God in Christ. 1706 E 11th St N, Wichita, KS 67214.
Family and friends may visit Mother Willis while she reposefully rest in royal splendor on Thursday, June 7, 2012 from 1PM until 7PM in the Biglow-Bethea Funeral Home Chapel.