Willis Lee Neels, 76, of Dell Rapids, SD passed away Saturday, May 5, 2018 at Avera Dougherty House Hospice in Sioux Falls. Funeral services will be at 10:30 AM Thursday, May 10, 2018 at Reformed Church in Dell Rapids. Burial will be in Logan Reformed Church Cemetery, rural Dell Rapids. Visitation with the family present will be from 5:00 to 7:00 PM Wednesday, May 9, 2018 at Minnehaha Funeral Home in Dell Rapids.
Willis, better known as Willie, was born on February 23, 1942 in Oskaloosa, Iowa to Leonard and Margaret (Stouwie) Neels. He grew up in Pella, Iowa. On June 10, 1960 Willis married Dorothy Poortinga in Otley, Iowa. In 1974 they moved to Sioux Falls, SD and later moving to Dell Rapids, SD in 2010.
He attended Pella Christian School until the 9th grade. He then went to work at Rolscreen in Pella, Iowa for a brief time until deciding to go into his lifelong profession of driving truck. His love for truck driving took him into different types of trucks. He was a bulk milk truck driver, over-the-road driver and hauled gas for Thermo Gas. The last 7 years as a local truck driver hauling wood to Larson’s in Brookings, SD. He was forced to quit driving truck in August of 2016 when he was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer.
Willie was an avid bowler. He participated in many National bowling tournaments throughout the United States. Camping with his grandkids was the joy of his life. His love for camping took him and Dorothy on many excursions with them. In his younger years he was a softball fast pitcher. Willie was involved in church in many ways. One of his enjoyments was being a youth leader, for 5 years, which used his profession of truck driving to take 19 kids and sponsors to Rocky Mountain High church retreat.
Grateful for having shared his life are his wife, Dorothy; daughter, Rhonda (Randy) Pierret; son, Ron Neels; daughter, Ronitta (Dennis) Sandahl; seven grandchildren, Regan (Brian) Anderson, Brandi (Jerod) Matthews, Chelsea Sandahl, Tricia Neels, Mark Pierret, Jessica Sandahl and Karisa Neels; five great-grandchildren, Jaydn Anderson, Mylie Anderson, Makenzie Anderson, Beckett Matthews and Elsie Pierret; sister, Loretta Thomas; brother, Roger Neels as well as nieces; nephews; relatives and friends. Willie was preceded in death by his parents.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials are directed to Prairie Cancer Center, Avera @ Home Hospice or Avera Dougherty House Hospice.