Thursday, April 25, 2024

Ina Ruth Willis, 81

| August 26, 2020 12:00 AM

Ina Ruth Willis, age 81, passed away peacefully in the arms of her family on Monday, Aug. 3, 2020, at her home in Athol, Idaho, after a courageous battle with cancer.

She was born Feb. 1, 1939, to James Zachery and Ruth (Treat) Zachery in Culp, Ark., the first of five children. The family subsequently relocated to Brentwood (Contra Costa County). California in 1952.

In 1955 she married Burnell (Barney) E. Willis, and in the following years had three children: Debra Ann, Cindy Marie and Randy Burnell. The family moved and settled in Athol, in 1972. Ina was a devoted wife, a proud mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and great-great grandmother.

In addition to all the responsibilities of helping to raise her family, she worked in a range of jobs. In 1975 Ina went to work full time at Kootenai Medical Center in Coeur d’Alene. In December 1996 she was awarded the Employee of the Month for Outstanding Performance and Dedication. Spending 35 years there as a dedicated employee, Ina retired in 2007 and went back part-time until 2010.

Ina loved camping, fishing, digging for old bottles, gardening, day car trips, watching her grandchildren play sports, and even though she didn’t ride herself, she totally supported the family horses, spending countless hours and days at horse shows and roping arenas, all for the pleasure and support of her family. She spent countless days/nights doctoring a sick horse or other family pets.

She had a deep love for all animals, especially her deer and birds, hummingbirds and doves among her favorites. In 2016 Ina acquired the love-of-her-life, her beloved little dog, Daisy. Those two were inseparable and it was difficult to tell which one was wrapped around who’s finger or paw.

Ina will be missed deeply by all who loved her and whose lives she touched. She will be missed as the beautiful curly blonde hair, blue-eyed, loving, kind, selfless mother who guided her children on their paths to becoming responsible adults and instilled in them her strong beliefs. She will be missed as the fun-loving friend, co-worker and neighbor with the kind and generous heart who never hesitated to help or offer support to anyone in distress.

Ina was preceded in death by her husband, Barney; daughter, Cindy; grandparents Jason (Sarah Tilley) Treat; both her parents and two brothers, Jay and Arlin.

She is survived by her two children, Debra Ann (Richard) Schu of Rosalia, Wash. and Randy Burnell (Roxanne) Willis of Spirit Lake, Idaho, brother-in-law, Burt (Rosie) Willis of Athol; two sisters, Deanie (Frank) Cravalho of Brentwood, Calif. and Janis Tate of Antioch, Calif.; aunt, Morene Treat of Rondo, Ark., seven grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, one great-great grandchild, as well as numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.

A private family graveside service will be held in the Athol Mountain View Cemetery where she will be laid to rest with her husband, Barney, and daughter, Cindy.

A celebration of life will be held at a later date due to current restrictions of public gatherings imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The family wishes to extend their gratitude to all the wonderful medical and hospice staff who helped care for Ina. In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made as memorial gifts to: Hospice of North Idaho (208) 772-7994,, or Athol ABC Food Bank, PO Box 416, Athol, ID 83801.

Yates Funeral Home of Coeur d’Alene is caring for the family.