Cover photo for George  Duane Willis's Obituary
George  Duane Willis Profile Photo
1928 George 2022

George Duane Willis

October 8, 1928 — October 7, 2022

George Duane Willis passed away after battling a brief illness on October 7, 2022, just a day before his 94th birthday. Born on October 8, 1928 in Belvidere, Illinois to parents George Leonard and Christine Willis. Duane grew up in Marengo, Illinois and graduated from Marengo High in 1947. He would go on to join the Army and marry his first wife, Jacci Schouen, who would tragically pass away a year later in 1953. Duane went on to work for Wahl Distributors in 1954 and soon met Jean Bombard. They would marry and welcome their first and only child, Cathy, into the world in 1956. He worked proudly as the bar owner of The Spot Tavern in Marengo and in 1960, he bought The Old Still Tavern in Rockford and stayed there until his retirement in 1995. His wife, Jean unfortunately passed away after battling cancer in 1996. A few years later in January 1999, Duane married Connie Reber at a beautiful beachside wedding in Florida. Connie sadly passed away in 2016.

He was an avid Chicago Cubs and Bears fan and enjoyed golfing as well as the game of billiards. Duane was an extremely talented artist, working with watercolors, pencil sketching, and paintings and oh, how he loved to dance! He enjoyed travelling and seeing places all around the world in his lifetime. He will mostly be remembered for his generosity and great sense of humor.

Duane is survived by his daughter Cathy (Don) Coupar, stepchildren Teri (Bob) Ashelford and Doug (Penny) Reber, grandchildren Andrew (Erin) Coupar, Matthew (Brenda) Coupar, and Spencer Coupar. Great-grandchildren Conner, Emily, Ellie, Jonan, Madelyn, and Eliza. Siblings Jackie (Dave) Miller, Tom (Marilyn) Willis, Joelene McGinnity, and Janel (Gerry) Zielke. He is predeceased by his parents George Leonard and Christine Willis, loving wives Jacci Schouen, Jean Bombard, and Connie Reber, stepson Denny Reber, siblings Shirley Kamolz, Barb Jansen, and Sandra Higgins.

A private memorial celebration will be held on October 8th, 2023 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Duane’s final resting place will be at Calvary Cemetery Mausoleum in Winnebago, Illinois. To send online condolences and share memories, please visit 

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Calvary Catholic Cemetery Mausoleum

8616 West State Road, Winnebago, IL 61088

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