URBANA — Mary Willis Reimers, 93, of Urbana died unexpectedly early Monday, April 6, 2020. Mary was born and raised in Champaign, the daughter of Harry Thomas Willis and Emily Barber Willis. She was married in 1951 in the First Presbyterian Church of Champaign to John David Reimers of Aurora. They lived in Aurora, where her husband farmed successfully for many years. They moved in 1959 to Galva, where Mr. Reimers was president of the First National Bank. They raised their two daughters in Galva and remained in the area until Mr. Reimers died in 1990 and Mary returned to Champaign.
Mary graduated from Kemper Hall Preparatory School in Kenosha, Wis., and the University of Illinois College of LAS with a bachelor’s degree in history. She was an active member of the University of Illinois Foundation and Friends of the Library for four decades. Mary was also a member of Pi Beta Phi sorority and PEO Sisterhood. She was an exceptional homemaker whose cooking was particularly enjoyed by all who had the pleasure of dining at her table.
Her grandfather, G.C. Willis, was the founder of the historic Champaign business, G.C. Willis Department Store. Ownership was passed down to her father, Harry T. Willis. As the store successfully grew, her father built a new and larger building at 15 Main St., Champaign, where Mary worked until her marriage. The business was sold in 1955 when her father retired. The building is now home to the offices of The News-Gazette newspaper.
Mary was preceded in death by her husband, John, and her sister, Frances Willis Hotchkiss of Santa Monica, Calif. She is survived by her daughters, Frances R. Workman of Champaign and Edith E. Reimers of Urbana; two nephews, Anthony Hotchkiss and Stephen (Audra) Hotchkiss of Malibu, Calif.; three grandchildren, Amanda, James and Harry (Catie) Workman of Champaign; and one great-granddaughter.
Honoring her request, no services will be accorded. Burial will be private at Mount Hope Cemetery, Champaign. Mittendorf-Calvert Funeral Home is handling arrangements.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Mary Willis Reimers, please visit our floral store.