Wesley Franklin Wills

Published 4:35 pm Monday, February 27, 2017

FRANKLIN — Wesley Franklin Wills, 90, went home to be with the Lord on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017 at his home in Franklin. He was born on Aug. 31, 1926 in Sedley. He was the son of the late Neddie Wesley Wills and Inell Williams Wills. He was also predeceased by his stepmother, Nellie Duck Wills.

Wesley was married to Gladys Lankford Wills for 53 years. He is survived by his three children, Ellis Wills (Patty) of Smithfield, Allen W. Wills of Franklin and Connie Wills Reed (Roger) of Chesapeake. He is also survived by six granddaughters, Lauren Wills, Kelly Reed Hancock (Adam), Tracy Reed, Caroline Wills Devers (Jakob), Michelle Reed and Kaitlyn Wills. He will be missed by many friends and relatives, including his close friend, Louise Pixley. 

Wesley was a 1944 graduate of Courtland High School. After graduation, he served in the United States Army Air Force during World War II in Biloxi, Miss. and Ramstein, Germany. He was trained as a B-17 tail gunner. 

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After his service, he was employed at Union Camp in the accounting department and Bronco Federal Credit Union. 

During that time he met his future wife, Gladys Virginia Lankford, who worked with Bristow Insurance and Realty Corp. Years later, after the birth of their first child, Ellis, Gladys chose to stay home with her child. Wesley became her replacement at Bristow Insurance and Realty Corp., where he remained for 40 years and became president of the company. 

During that time as a real estate agent, he was also involved in the development of several housing subdivisions in Franklin and Southampton County, such as Edgehill, Scottswood, Joyners Acres, Holliknoll and Shands Estates. Wesley helped so many people in the real estate market not just buy their house, but find their home. He was also a Virginia appraiser for many years and a founder and board member of the Bank of Franklin.

Wesley was a long-time member of the Franklin Congregational Christian Church, where he was a deacon and service in many other leadership roles. He was also a member for more than 50 years of both the Franklin Lions Club and Franklin Masonic Lodge, where he was a master mason.

For those who knew Wesley, they would agree that in his spare time he was always helping and entertaining others. He was proud to be a “book buddy” for several years in the Franklin public schools. He loved to visit people in the hospitals and nursing homes and was always willing to offer encouragement, advice and a laugh to anyone in need.

Wesley will always be remembered for being young at heart no matter where he was — but especially on the dance floor. 
A funeral was held Feb. 27 at Wright Funeral Home with the Rev. James H. Hyatt Jr. officiating. Burial followed at Poplar Spring Cemetery in Franklin. The family suggests memorial donations be made to the Franklin Congregational Christian Church and the American Heart Association. Visit www.wrightfuneralhome.org