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Obituary for Gordon R. Willsey


Gordon R. Willsey, 82, died suddenly on January 7, 2020 at the Cottages at Garden Grove Rehabilitation Center in Cicero, N.Y. following a brief hospital stay.

He is survived by his wife of 19 years, Renate (Weber) Willsey; his first wife of 34 years, Rosemarie (Durante) Willsey of Buckeye, Arizona; three sons, Lynn (Wendy)Willsey of Mexico, NY; Timothy (Monica)Willsey of Homer, NY; and Ray Willsey of Buckeye, Arizona; six grandchildren; his siblings, Russell (Connie) Potter, Virginia York, Betty (Henry) Henson, Ray (Lori) Potter, Beverly Horner, and many nephews and nieces as well as many close friends.

He was predeceased by his parents, and siblings; Florence Morris, Sally White, James Potter, Delores Griffith, and Cathy Bishop.

Gordon was born on April 23, 1937 in Locke, NY to Frank and Irene French Potter. He was raised by Ernest and Doris Willsey on the Willsey family farm in Cato, NY, and attended Cato-Meridian Schools. After attending SUNY Morrisville on a full scholarship he worked in the Agricultural Equipment industry.

In 1978 Gordon established Willsey Farm Center and was owner/operator until his retirement in 1993.

In his retirement years Gordon worked as a bus driver for BOCES and TCAT in Ithaca, driving students safely to their destinations. He also worked for the Florida State Fair as a Maintenance Supervisor during his winters at his Florida home.

Gordon was an active supporter of the Cornell Cooperative Extension where he gave many hours teaching classes related to Agriculture and Farming.In his younger days, Gordon served as a volunteer Firefighter with the South Onondaga Fire Dept.

He was a passionate Round & Square Dancer, spending countless weekends at the Country Music Park in Cortland. If he wasn’t dancing, he would be volunteering at their famous spaghetti dinners and music shows.

Gordon will be remembered by his gregarious nature, always having a smile and comedic comment for those he cared about.

A funeral service to celebrate Gordon’s life will be held on Jan. 16, 2020 at Wright-Beard Funeral Home in Cortland. Calling hours will be at 10:00am with a memorial service at 12:00 noon.The family asks that Memorial Gifts in Mr. Willsey’s name be made to the Cortland Country Music Park, 1824 State Rt 13, Cortland, NY, 13045.

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