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Patricia Starr Willis, 68, of 475 Meadowood Drive, Troy, Ohio, formerly of Park Rapids, passed away suddenly Thursday, August 22, 2013 after complications with cancer combined with a stroke.

She was born May 3, 1945 in Dyersburg, Tenn. to the late James Beeney and Betty (Bortmas) Beeney.

She married Donald E. Willis May 24, 1975 and he survives. Patricia is also survived by two daughters and sons-in-law, Paige and Clark Lund of Phoenix, Ariz. and Jodi and Mark Zabolotny of Rockwall, Texas; one son and daughter-in-law, Robert and Mary Willis of Monument, Colo., eight grandchildren, Allyson Lund, Abigayle Lund, Matthew Lund, Amanda Zabolotny, Val Zabolotny, Madison Willis, Mitchell Willis and John Berg; as well as two sisters and brother-in-law, Darlene and Larry Shope of Jacksonville, Fla. and Jerrie Hartzell of Troy, Ohio.

Patricia's passion in life was children. She was a teacher and, later, a business administrator, but her real life work began after her professional retirement. For the last 23 years she has served as a volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocate, Guardian Ad Litum (CASA/GAL) for neglected and abused children in Minnesota, Arizona and Ohio. Her CASA kids were HER kids…she loved them, protected them and worked tirelessly to heal the pain in their lives. Though battling cancer numerous times in the last 14 years, she lived as if that had never happened, and continued to devote her life to her family and her CASA kids.

Patricia was a force in her family and community. This incredible lady never did anything halfway. She was gentle yet strong as steel. She showed us all, through her daily example, how to overcome all obstacles and live a life of meaning with dignity and grace.

She was our mom, wife, sister, friend, protector… and we will see her again in Heaven. Her legacy lives through all who knew her.

Memorial service: 4 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 5 at Tabernacle Church at 1502 Waco Street, Troy, Ohio. Patricia was of the Lutheran faith and Pastor Diane Johnson, will officiate.

Arrangements are entrusted to the Fisher-Cheney Funeral Home in Troy, Ohio. Visit www.fisher-cheneyfuneral where directions and more details may be found.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you honor this amazing life with memorial contributions to the Patricia Starr Willis Fund for Neglected and Abused Children, in care of The Troy Foundation, 214 West Franklin St, Troy, Ohio, 45373. Through this foundation, Patricia will continue her work for children.