In honour of Jim Willis
TRURO - Steve Willis is speechless for a moment as he gazes at a huge community sympathy card before him.
"I feel quite proud that dad was that well known and liked and some folks are taking it as hard as the family or harder," Steve said of his father, Jim Willis, who died last Tuesday in the QE2 hospital in Halifax after a brief battle with cancer.
Many in the community are mourning the death of the friendly 77-year-old who refused to retire and loved to meet people daily. Jim was the owner/co-operator of Jim's Light Trucking for more than 40 years.
In his memory Inglis Jewelers has erected a huge card, measuring 4x4, on its outside window for members of the community to sign. It has quickly filled since being made available a day after Jim's death.
"We wanted to help people grieve on the street. He was well loved and respected in downtown Truro," said Paul Clark, co-owner of Inglis Jewelers, adding this is the first time the business has made a community memorial card available.
"His passing was so quick we wanted an opportunity for people who didn't know to know.
"I heard one person say, 'it is the end of a legend."
Clark remembers the senior Willis as a "dancing machine" who loved to smile and talk with everybody he came into contact with.
"He was a friendly person by nature who had to meet people everyday," added Steve, who resides in Lower Onslow.
Valley's Judy MacLeod signed the card
Saturday. She's known Jim for about four
"He was a very fine man and always eager to help," said MacLeod as Steve watched her add her sentiments to those already overflowing on the card.
"I love there's an opportunity to express thoughts like this," said MacLeod.
Clark expects the card will be given to the Willis family today.
Steve said his mother has the perfect spot chosen for it: in Jim's bedroom.
The funeral for Jim is today at 2 p.m. at Colchester Community Funeral Home.