Gerald L. "Tink" Willey
Gerald L. "Tink" Willey, 74, of Marion, passed away Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019, in his home after a brief illness. A celebration of his life will be held at noon Saturday, Nov. 2, at Cedar Memorial Park with visitation from 11 a.m. to noon.
Tink was born Nov. 22, 1944, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the son of Ralph and Esther (Brinkman) Willey. He was a 1962 graduate of Lincoln Community School in Stanwood. After graduating, Tink proudly served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1962 to 1966, being awarded the National Defense Service medal, Vietnam Service medal and M-14 Rifle Expert. In 1977, he began working for Quaker Oats in Cedar Rapids as a systems analyst, spending time at their facilities in Marion, Ohio, Jackson, Tenn., and Chicago, before retiring in 2010 as manager information systems in Cedar Rapids.
Tink was married to Dawn Johnson on Oct. 17, 1987, in Jackson, Tenn., where they resided until 1989, when Tink's work with Quaker took them to Chicago, after which they returned to Iowa in 1990, residing in Marion since 1996.
One of Tink's favorite hobbies was stock car racing, where he acquired an extensive "racing family" over the years, and etching the name "Tinkster" and his car
No. 33 in our hearts forever. Friday nights meant race night at Hawkeye Downs Raceway for several years for our family and those memories are cherished. Tink always made time to help family and friends with their projects, and as time allowed, he enjoyed boating, fishing, and of course, watching NASCAR.
Tink is survived by his wife, Dawn; his children, Brady (Carrie) Johnson of Tucson, Ariz., Brion Johnson of Cedar Rapids and Brook (Kevin) Smock of Atkins; four grandchildren, Matthew Mohr, Heather (Tyler) Garbart and Lindsey Smock, all of Cedar Rapids, and Emily Johnson of Naperville, Ill.; three great-grandchildren, Gracie, Braxton and Riley; brother, Doug (Edie) Willey; sister, Janice Vine; sister-in-law, Sherry Willey; and many special nieces and nephews.
Tink was preceded in death by his parents; his brother, Roger Willey; father-in-law, Albert Borowski; special friends, George Conklin and Al Roberts; and his beloved black Lab, Bud Dog.
Tink will be remembered for the selfless way he gave of himself to others, whatever the need may be, for his warm smile, his comforting presence, his sense of humor, and for teaching us to find joy in things as simple as a road trip with bologna sandwiches and Oreo cookies.