Ernie Willcocks, 66

Ernest G. Willcocks II entered into the Gates of Heaven on June 2, 2013, at Bronson Methodist Hospital. Ernie was lovingly surrounded by his wife, children, stepchildren and his michigan family who all gave thanks to God for blessing them with Ernie.

Ernie was born July 10, 1946, in Cleveland, a son of Ernest G. Willcocks I and Eleanor (Depner).

He is survived by his faithful wife and friend, Ruth Ann (Benson); a daughter, michelle (Adam) Freeman; a son, Mark (Hilary) Willcocks; stepsons Chris (Juli) Westgate and Nick (Marci) Westgate; granddaughters Hannah and Aubrey Freeman and Elliana and Charlotte Willcocks; step-granddaughters Ashli (Bill) Vogler and Kayla (Nick) Zelenock; a step-grandson, Logan Westgate; a step-great-grandson, Sammy Westgate; a sister, Larraine Stranca; brother-in-law Dave (Janice) Girton; sisters-in-law Midge (Jim) Hostetler and Lori (Curt) Meek; his Uncle Hank (Carol) Depner; and nieces, nephews and cousins.

Ernie’s first wife was Mary Jo Girton, who passed away March 31, 2000. Ernie and Mary Jo met at Hope College and settled, worked and raised their children in Strongsville, Ohio. In 1999, Ernie and Mary Jo built a family home on Aldrich Lake in Michigan

After the death of Mary Jo, Ernie met his second wife, Ruthie. One of his favorite statements was how did a boy from Cleveland find two girls from White Pigeon to marry? Right up until Ernie’s death, Ernie and Ruth lived an active retirement lifestyle. Despite the diagnosis of cancer, they went on and experienced many adventures.

Ernie touched so many lives as a teacher in North Royalton, Ohio; as a real estate salesperson; as a pursuer of God’s teaching in both the United Methodist Church of Strongsville and First United Methodist Church of Sturgis. Foremost, he loved his wives, children, stepchildren, grandchildren, stepgrandchildren and extended family. He loved being out on the pontoon on the lake and spending his winters in Green Valley, Ariz. He always kept busy and always had some project in the works.

Ernie also leaves behind many, many prayer warriors, teacher buddies and friends. He was a man of many questions. If you wanted to find out about anything or anybody, you sent Ernie on the mission.

His family and friends will miss him, but they know he is now resting in God’s hands.

Visitation will be held 5-8 p.m. Thursday at Farrand Funeral Home in White Pigeon. Services will be at 11 a.m. Friday, June 7, 2013, at First United Methodist Church in Sturgis, with the Rev. Steve Zerbe officiating. Interment will take place in White Pigeon Township Cemetery.

Donations may be directed to First United Methodist Church or Relay for Life of sturgis. Envelopes are available at the funeral home.

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