14 July 2015
Fluvanna County has lost one of its most dedicated volunteers and mentors in the Palmyra Volunteer Fire Department. Wallace William “Boots” Wills, 58, died at home on Monday, July 6, after a four year battle with ALS – Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Wills had served as Chief of the Palmyra Volunteer Fire Department for over 30 years.
Wills leaves behind his wife, Donna Wills, two sons and their families, and siblings – but his family was bigger than that – his family was also the fire department, and the greater community.
“He had more than two sons; he had many daughters,” said Wills’ niece Nicole Kober. “There is also the fire department family,” she explained. “He was an inspiration for all of us; we all grew up around him, and seeing his commitment to the fire department made me want to do it – made a lot of us want to do it, “ she said. “It is in our blood, now.”
The size of Wills’ extended family was obvious on both the visitation night at Palmyra Fire House and at his graveside funeral service. The line to enter the firehouse to visit with Wills’ family went from the front door across the parking lot to the road; over 500 people signed the guest book. The late morning graveside service was equally well attended, despite near 100 degree temperatures.
“I think it was evident at the family night and the funeral the number of friends that he had,” said Fluvanna fire chief and Will’s good friend Mike Brent. “A lot of those friends were from the fire department or work or just people he knew. He could make friends with anybody,” Brent added. “He was so friendly and he would lend a hand to help anybody, and I think that was evident in the family night and the funeral. He is going to be missed.“