Clair Leroy Willey, 82, of Marion, passed away peacefully Sunday, Jan. 27, 2019, after a courageous
1 1/2-year battle with cancer. A visitation will be held on Feb. 28 from 5 to 8 p.m. at Red Cedar Lodge, Squaw Creek Park, 4305 Squaw Lane, Marion, Iowa. Leroy's memorial service
will be held at 11 a.m. March 1 at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses, 7121 Mount Vernon Rd. SE. A luncheon will follow immediately at Red Cedar Lodge, Squaw Creek Park.
Leroy was born in Mount Ayr, Iowa, on Aug. 26, 1936, to Clair and Lucille Willey. He graduated from Mount Ayr High School, Class of 1954, as class president and co-captain of the football team. He worked at his father's plumbing and heating business through high school. He received his mechanical engineering degree from Iowa State University in 1958. He married Julianne Kay Cooksey (Hansen) in 1965 in Washburn, Iowa, and became dad to Keith and Leigh, followed by Blaine in 1966, Joel in 1971 and Lynn in 1975. He later divorced.
While still going to college, Leroy began working at John Deere in Waterloo. One design project he worked on there was converting tractors from manual to power steering. He then worked at Collins Radio in Cedar Rapids, where he designed communications equipment for commercial aircraft. Next was Johnson Machine Works in Chariton, designing structural steel projects like bridges and water dam gates. Lastly was Lefebure (Mosler) in Cedar Rapids. There, he greatly improved upon the pneumatic transfer system technology for car-to-teller banking, also designing a pneumatic delivery system for the space shuttle, from the command center to the door of the shuttle while it sat on the launch pad, using air to quickly get smaller items delivered. In his retirement, he became a consultant and volunteered at the Science Station in Cedar Rapids.
Leroy is survived by his children, Keith of St. Mary's, Leigh Carson (Dennis) of Cedar Rapids, Joel of Marion and Lynn Frantz (Eric) of Cedar Rapids; and daughter-in-law, Laura of Cedar Rapids. He has seven grandchildren, Nicholas, Nathan, Janay, Blake, Aiden, Christian and Olivia. In October, he was blessed with his first great-grandchild, River William.
He was preceded in death by his sister, Judith Ann, who passed in infancy; parents, Clair and Lucille; and a son, Blaine.
One of his favorite pastimes was to have a big dinner with his family and friends. He loved to eat! Please, even if unable to attend the service, come have a meal at the Red Lodge and talk old times about Dad with his family and friends. He was highly intelligent and enjoyed sharing his vast knowledge of anything from astronomy to geography and Scripture. He had a great love for his children and grandchildren, and his faith. He was loved very much and will be deeply missed by all.
The family would like to extend a sincere thank-you to the nurses and doctors at the cancer unit at the University of Iowa Hospital and also to everyone at the Dennis & Donna Oldorf Hospice House, who helped take care of Dad in his last days. We are very grateful to all of you for your care and compassion.