Chris Willis, 49


Richard Christopher Willis, age 49, of Sturgis, passed away Tuesday, June 21, 2016, in Albion, Ind.
He was born April 28, 1967, in Three Rivers, a son of Richard L. and Janet (Keenan) Willis.
Chris resided in Sturgis for the past six years, coming from St. Petersburg, Fla., where he had lived since age 6.
He was first married to Debbi Evans. This marriage ended in divorce. On May 19, 2006, he married Karen Cherney in Nassau, Bahamas.
During nearly all of Chris’s working life, he was employed as a mechanic. For the past five years, he enjoyed working as a mechanic at Hamilton Harley Davidson in Sturgis and was just three courses short of earning the status of Master Mechanic of Harley-Davidson Motorcycles. While living in Florida, he owned and operated an auto repair shop for more than 20 years. While owning his own shop, he not only did mechanic work, but also total automobile restorations.
He was a member of the Heritage Trail H.O.G. Chapter #2155 in Sturgis, St. Joe Valley Antique Tractor Association and Animal Rescue Fund. He enjoyed riding his motorcycle, scuba diving, fishing, farming, tinkering and most anything in the outdoors. He truly loved his dog, Chloe, whom he rescued from an animal shelter.
Chris is survived by his wife, Karen; his children, Christopher Allen Willis of St. Petersburg, Fla., Amy (Isaac Sachs) Santee of Portland, Ore., and Jeff Santee of St. Petersburg; his father, Richard Lee (Susan) Willis of Mottville; his mother, Janet Keenan of St. Petersburg; a stepsister, Leslie Willis of Troy; a half-brother, John Paul Keenan of Atlanta; and grandmother, Vivian Heltzel of Sturgis.
A gathering of friends and family to share stories and honor the life of Richard Christopher Willis will be held from 5-7 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday at the Rosenberg Chapel of Hackman Family Funeral Homes, 807 E. Chicago Road, Sturgis. In accordance with Chris’s wishes, cremation will follow the gathering.
Memorial donations to the family would be appreciated, c/o: Karen Willis, 1399 N. Nottawa St., Sturgis, MI 49091.
His obituary is also at, where personal messages of support may be left for the family.

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