Judy M. Wills

Judy M. (Zeal) Wills, 82, of Galena, IL, passed away peacefully on Friday, July 5th, 2024.  She was born on July 25, 1941, in Galena, IL the daughter of Wilbur and LaVerne (Bodell) Zeal.

She was a graduate of Galena High School, Class of 1959.  Judy was united in marriage to Merlin C. Wills on April 30, 1960, at St. Michael’s Church, in Galena. Together they farmed on the family farm in Galena for over 60 years. They were selected the Conservation Farm Family of the year in 1994. Judy and Merlin were 4-H leaders for (23) years. They enjoyed square and ballroom dancing. She was a great fast-pitch softball pitcher, and it was a joy hearing stories about her playing ball. Countless hours were spent at ballfields as a family with all 5 children playing softball/baseball in 4-H and playing ball in the backyard after chores in the evening.

She volunteered many hours nourishing others with amazing food and helping those in need.  Judy was a member of St. Michael’s Church Altar and Rosary in Galena and organized many funeral dinners over the years.  She was a member of the local Jo Daviess County Association for Home and Community Education (HCE) for over 30 years and loved going to meetings and the dinner theatre.

She was a full-time mom, farm wife and homemaker. She enjoyed gardening, sewing, baking, shopping and spending time with friends. She loved to bake and always had something sweet for visitors.

As family, we were thankful for so many great meals with her lasagna, coleslaw, swiss steak and Thanksgiving dressing being our top favorites.  Judy greatly enjoyed watching grandchildren at their activities, and just spending time with them on the farm.

She is survived by five children, Marti (Joanne) Wills, of East Dubuque, IL, Kirk (Lori) Wills, Mike (Tammy) Wills, Becky (Mike) Hilby, all of Galena, IL, and Ann (Steve) McDonald, of Dodgeville, WI; grandchildren, Christopher, Brandon (Jessica), Tim, Krista (Bo), Samantha, Paige, Payton, Cole, Morgan, Lily, Erin, Riley, Owen, Taylor, and Ava; and eight great-grandchildren; her brother Jim (Ann) Zeal; and sisters-in-law, Mary Wills, Joanne Wills, Lorraine Wills, Betty Cogan and Fay Zeal.

She was preceded in death by her husband Merlin, parents Wilbur and LaVerne (Bodell) Zeal, father-in-law and mother-in-law, Charles and Catherine (Freese) Wills; brothers, Forrest and Harold (Marlys) Zeal; sister, Elaine and in-laws, Dale and Eileen Keuter, Chuck Wills, Lee Wills, Donnie Wills, Eldon Wills, Laverne Wills, Dick Cogan.

Mom was a very strong woman, she may have been tiny, but she was fierce.

Family and friends may call from 3:00 – 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, July 9th and from 9:00 – 9:45 a.m. on Wednesday at the Miller Funeral Home in East Dubuque, IL, where funeral services will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday. Burial will be in Greenwood Cemetery, Galena.

Thank you, Mercy One Hospital, Mercy One Cancer Center, Medical Associates Clinic, Harmony Dubuque and Care Initiatives Hospice. We appreciate your genuine care and kindness.

Online condolences may be left for the family at www.millerfhed.com©

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