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Everett Russell Wills, 72, of St. Leonard died Aug. 30, 2012, at FutureCare Pineview in Clinton.

He was born June 14, 1940, in Paris, Md., to the late Harold and Mary Wills.

He was the seventh of 10 children and was known to be quiet, obedient and humble. He farmed most of his life until it was no longer profitable to raise tobacco. Although he enjoyed farming and being outdoors, he had a thirst for knowledge. He received his early education in the public schools of Calvert County. He continued his education and received several accolades at Maryland State College in Princess Anne. He received his bachelor of science degree in 1963.

He joined the U.S. Navy in September 1963. He was accepted into the Aviation Officer Program in Pensacola, Fla., and was the only African-American in his class. After honorary discharge from the Navy, he accepted a job with the U.S. Postal Service. He was later employed by the Calvert County Board of Education to teach math and industrial arts. Later in his career, he worked in construction until his retirement.

He married Ephonia Lee Mason on June 24, 1967, and they had three children. He and his wife were inseparable for 45 years.

He attended Peterís United Methodist Church in his youth. He became a member of Brooks United Methodist Church in 1971. He served as treasurer and finance committee member for more than 30 years.

He enjoyed gardening, cooking, landscaping and carpentry. Most of all, he loved spending time with his grandchildren and attending their activities. He will be remembered as a great family man, a community activist and volunteer, as well as a legacy for his family as the first to receive a college degree. His humbleness and selflessness will be remembered throughout his family, friends and colleagues.

He was preceded in death by his parents; and siblings, Leroy Wills, Doris Tyler, Mary Frances Thomas, John Wills, Helen Wills, George Wills and James Wills.

He is survived by his wife, Ephonia; children, Donna Rice, Cheryl Wills, Sandra and her husband, Jeffrey Tolson, Stacy Wills, Tracy Commodore, Margo and her husband, Darry McNair, and Dawn and her husband, Barron Parker; grandchildren, Kym Rice, Jeffrey Tolson, Braxton Commodore and Brian Commodore; siblings, Mattie Prout and Robert Wills; stepsister, Glenda Wallace; aunt, Elizabeth Wills; sisters-in-law, Yvonne Wills, Shirley Wills and Lillian Wills; brother-in-law, Enoch Tyler; goddaughters, Marshann Graham, Donna Jones and Sherrise De Baugh; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

A funeral service was held Sept. 8 at Dunkirk Baptist Church in Dunkirk, with the Rev. Darnell Easton officiating.

Interment was at Brooks United Methodist Church Cemetery in St. Leonard.

Pallbearers were Alvin Wills, Charles Tyler, Gregory Wills, Berjerone Mason, Ricky Wills and James Wills.

Honorary pallbearers were Sidney Jones, Harry Harrod, Charles Riggs, Nicholas Bond and Frances Thomas.

Arrangements were provided by Sewell Funeral Home in Prince Frederick.