James R. ‘Chilli’ Wills

Chilli-WillsJanuary 23, 1936 - June 1, 2020

James Ronald Wills affectionately known as Ronnie, Chilli, Jim, Dad, Daddy, Pop, Pa, Poppi, Grandad, Papa, and Grand- papa of Elk Grove, California (formerly of Lancaster, Calif.) was welcomed into the Kingdom of Heaven on Monday, June 1, 2020. He was surrounded by Mintie, his wife of 63 years and other family members. Ronnie was the second and much-loved son of Mary Theresa (nee' Fountain) and Reverend Joseph D. Wills, Sr. of Germantown, Pennsylvania. He enlisted in the Air Force on January 18, 1955 and married Mintie Ann West of Edinburg, Texas in 1957. He served his country with distinction on active duty in the US Air Force (23 years), as a civilian employed in the defense contractor sector (6 years), and as a Civil Servant for the US Air Force (14 years). Ronnie's family loved to hear tales of the bizarre testing that he endured to become an original member of the new Air Commandos, 1st Air Commando Wing activated at Hurlburt Field, Florida in 1961. Throughout his career he earned many decorations and awards including the Air Force Commendation Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters and the Lieutenant General Leo Marquez award for the Outstanding USAF Munitions Maintenance Manager of the Year. Ronnie loved golfing and fishing. He helped young men develop character and discipline by sharing lessons of faith and teaching them the game of golf. Willing to fish any time, any place, Ronnie enjoyed fishing with the High Desert Saltwater Anglers where he served as the VP for several years and often shared his best "it was this BIG" fishing stories.

Chilli-Wills-and-Mr-T

Chilli-Wills-and-Mr-T

Ronnie is preceded in death by his parents, brother Joseph D. Wills Jr, sister Deborah Carroll, and granddaughter Jamelle Rene Wills-Guyton. He is survived by his wife Mintie, daughters, Delores Wills Guyton, Joan Wills, Teresa Wills, Pamela (Erich) Borgstede, and Jacqueline (Tony) Caldwell, and brother Jerry (Joy) Wills. Also mourning his passing are his beloved cousin and friend, Joan Reid, brother-in-law, Richard (Ruth) Carroll, and sister-in- law, Chun-Kuei (Wong) Wills; grandchildren Clayton (Kristy) Guyton Jr, Ian Guyton, Jamee Hawthorne, Kelsea Hawthorne, and Isaiah Caldwell; great-grandchildren Michael Kyle Guyton, Emma Wills-Guyton, and Jeremiah Guyton-Smith, and a host of beloved nieces and nephews, relatives, and friends.
The family would like to express their appreciation to caregivers who cared for Ronnie during his illness. Thank you to relatives and friends who supported, encouraged, and comforted the family. Those interested in memorial contributions may do so in his name: Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals, obap.org, 1-800-538-6227. Due to COVID-19 mandates no public services will be held at this time. Ronnie will be interred at the National Cemetery Sacramento Valley (Dixon, CA).

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