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Cleo Gladys Maxwell Willis

February 11, 1931 ~ January 16, 2019 (age 87)

Cleo Gladys Maxwell Willis​ was born February 11, 1931 in Hernando, Mississippi to Rett and Florence Maxwell, the 20th of 21 children.  Cleo’s education started in Hernando, MS and she attended Melrose High School in Memphis, TN. Many years later she attended DeKalb Tech College.  Cleo met Walter Willis Sr., with whom she walked her over the threshold of Holy Matrimony on June 3, 1949. This union lasted forty- seven years. She was devoted to her beloved husband until his demise in 1996. From this union five children were born, three girls and two boys. Cleo raised two more girls as her own daughters.  She accepted Christ as her Lord and Savior ​upon moving from Hernando to Memphis, Tennessee, and became a member of Emmanuel Church Of God In Christ. There, she started the first Sunshine Band and children’s choir. ​ Additionally, she was a lead singer in the adult choir and it was most favorable to hear her sing, “This Morning When I Rose”. She had no doubt that the Lord would take care of her.  In 1979, the family relocated from Memphis,Tennessee to Atlanta, Georgia.  They pursued their dreams of entrepreneurship under the business name of “Willis Landscape Service and Small Engine Repai​r.”  ​This business was profitable and thriving up until Walter’s death. God blessed the labor of their hands. While in Atlanta, she joined Christ Temple C.O.G.I.C., there she received her Evangelist Missionary license, worked with the Sunshine Band and served on the Mothers Board.  In 2002 Cleo’s missionary work lead her to move to Rapid City, South Dakota to assist in caring for her grandchildren after the death of their father. While there she joined Faith Temple C.O.G.I.C. Cleo was appointed as the State Supervisor of Women for the South Dakota Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction.  In January of 2010 she moved back to Atlanta, Georgia and joined Living Word C.O.G.I.C.​  ​In her latter days she joined the Faith Center under the leadership of Pastor Vincent Campbell. Let it be known she was Saved, Sanctified, Baptized and filled with the precious Holy Ghost. For, “​It is well.”
Cleo Gladys Maxwell Willis​ leaves to cherish her precious memories four daughters: Carolyn Willis Douglas (Benton) Atlanta, GA, Sharon Willis Jackson (Eric) Harrisburg, PA, Audrey Willis Talley (Kenneth), and Debra Massey both of Atlanta, GA, one son: Walter Willis Jr. (Jackie) of Atlanta, GA, twenty seven grandchildren, forty four great grandchildren, one great-great grandchild, and a host of nieces, nephews, family, and friends.  One child preceded her in death, Gary Curtis Willis. Mother Cleo Gladys Maxwell Willis famous quotes…. “Put your face in the carpet and tell God Yea” ….“Do Jesus” ….“Stay in your Lane” “Stay with it” ….“Daughter.”

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