Margaret Willis Rodecker, 90, of Beaufort, died Monday, October 11, 2021 at Post-Acute Medical Hospital in Rocky Mount, NC.
Her memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Sunday at Ann Street United Methodist Church in Beaufort with the Rev. Taylor Mills officiating.
She was born Jan. 19, 1931, in Greenville, TN., to Thomas and Lillian Hardin Nelson. Margaret was raised in Marshallberg and Beaufort with her sisters. She graduated from Beaufort High School and attended East Carolina College and Hardbarger Business College in Raleigh. She married John “Johnny” Webster Willis Jr. in Ann Street Methodist Church in 1952. They shared almost 30 years of joy raising their five children until Johnny’s untimely death in 1982. She later met and married Robert “Bob” C. Rodecker and they shared over 10 years of adventure sailing and traveling.
Margaret worked as a teacher’s aid and school bus driver for Beaufort Elementary for a number of years in the 1970’s before taking a job at Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station in the payroll department for Naval Air Rework Facility (NARF) in 1980. She retired from Cherry Point after 15 years; however, she remained very active and continued to help Bob with his boat building business “Southern Skimmer”, delivering boats all over the eastern US. She was a devoted wife, cherished mother and adored grandmother. She was an avid boater and loved to catch fish, shrimp, clams and scallops. She taught everyone how to waterski, including friends and extended family. She also loved to cook and often fed large groups including friends and extended family. In later years she became an avid walker around Beaufort with a regular route of friends that she would visit along the way. She also regularly drove many of her friends on errands, to the doctor or to lunch beyond her 90th birthday.
Margaret Willis Rodecker is survived by her sons, John “Keith” Willis and wife Anna of Beaufort, Thomas “Kevin” Willis and wife Deborah of Morehead City, Webster “Kyle” Willis of Beaufort, Edward “Kerry” Willis and partner Ignacio Villegas of Thousand Oaks, CA.; son-in-law Larry Wood of Galax VA.; sisters Nancy Nelson Babbit of Beaufort, Elizabeth “Betsy” Nelson Bykerk of Prescott, AZ and Nancy Nelson Grubb of Glendale, AZ.; eight grandchildren, Brandon E. Lewis and wife Heather of Raleigh, Elliot C. Willis and wife Sarah of Richmond, VA, Meredith Willis Fleck and husband Matthew of Raleigh, William “Billy” Willis and wife Jenn of Beaufort, John “Taylor” Willis and wife Jenny of Cary, Scott Willis and wife Clarissa of Siler City, Avery B. Willis Lew and husband Anthony of Sumter, SC and Aubrey J. Willis Coronado and husband Dario of Tucson AZ.; four great-grandchildren, Brandon Lewis Jr., Leiden Willis, Ansel Willis and Hazel Grace Lew; and a legion of nephews, nieces, cousins and their families.
In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her first husband John Webster Willis, Jr.; her second husband Robert C. Rodecker; her daughter Kathy Willis Wood; and her sisters Mary Ruth Nelson Paul Potter and Dorothy “Dottie” Nelson Hinson Lynch of Beaufort.
She was an active member of Ann Street United Methodist Church where she raised her family. In later years she sang in the choir, worked in the church office, and helped organize the fall bazaar among other activities. She was an avid bridge player throughout her life with her many friends and for a number of years was the organizer for the “Lunch Bunch” gathering from Ann Street UMC.
A visitation will be held in the sanctuary of Ann Street UMC one hour before the service. A private interment will follow at Oceanview Cemetery in Beaufort.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donation may be made to Ann Street United Methodist Church, 417 Ann St. Beaufort, NC 28516.
Arrangements are being made by Noe-Brooks Funeral Home and Crematory of Morehead City.
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