Gerold Leroy Willey, youngest child of Willard & Maude E. (Rusk) Willey, was born at the family home in Mount Ayr on January 5, 1928. Gerold attended and graduated from Mount Ayr Community School in 1947. Football was his passion and he lived and breathed the sport. Gerold worked for his oldest brother, Clair, at Willey’s Plumbing all through high school and beyond. This experience directed his life long career in the plumbing and heating business.
Gerold met his love of his life, Jean Marler, at the Grant City Skating Rink. Jean was impressed with his ability to skate on his back wheels and they’ve been a couple ever since. Gerold and Jean were married on July 8, 1951.
Gerold was drafted into the US Army on March 21, 1951 and served his country while stationed in Alaska. He loved his time there, working weekends for a commercial contractor, and Jean joined him in Alaska for the last 18 months of his duty.
Gerold & Jean returned to Mount Ayr and they branched out on their own. They opened their own plumbing & heating business out of their garage and eventually, deciding to “take the plunge” and built a new building at 306 South Garfield St. The town surrounded them with support and service calls never ended. The business was blessed with dedicated employees that enabled their business to grow. Gerold & Jean enjoyed wintering in South Padre Island, Texas and many good friends and memories were made there.
In 2007, Gerold suffered a stroke. Through sheer determination and gritt, which defined his life, Gerold was able to overcome the prognosis that he may never walk or talk again. Through lots of physical therapy and support from his family, Gerold was able to continue stopping by his little “haven” to see Carol and check on things.
Gerold passed away on February 13, 2019. He was preceded in death by his parents and all six of his siblings and their spouses; Clair Willey, Maxine Kimble, Iona Willey, Lola Haley, Pauline Deemer, and Elma Moore.
Those left to cherish and share his memory include his wife, Jean Willey of Mount Ayr; daughters Stephany (Paul) Fell of Pleasant Hill, IA and Kimberly (Robert) Weehler of Mount Ayr; grandchildren Brian Fell, Lydia (Brian) Fell-Motis, Danyale (John) Boardman, Sommer (Billy) Jones, and Colton Weehler; great grandchildren Reece Boardman, Ty Jones, Menah Fell, Quinn Boardman, Simon Fell, Wynston Jones, Zane Boardman, Castle Motis, Roman Motis, Silas Motis; other relatives and a host of many good and true friends.
Memorials are to the First Christ Church.