Willis Albert Zinn Jr., 83, of Hume, Mo., died Monday, Jan. 14, 2013, at Homestead Hospital in Homestead, Fla. He was born Jan. 28, 1929, to Willis Albert Sr. and Mary Lorena Moore Zinn in Amsterdam, Mo.
Willis attended a one-room Nyhart Country School in rural Bates County.
After eighth grade graduation, he attended Rich Hill High School graduating in 1946. After an excursion through the Western United States where he ended up picking apples in Washington, he joined the Air Force at the end of World War II. Upon his honorable discharge he began working at a lumber yard and then met his future wife, Lura Jean Wilson. They were united in marriage on Sept. 6, 1953, and to this union three daughters were born.
Willis's primary career was in Air Route Traffic Control. His interest in air traffic was initiated during his military career when he worked with radar in the Aleutian Islands of Alaska. He started his career at the Kansas City Center and was transferred to the Aurora, Ill., Center in 1963, where he worked until he retired in 1981. Willis did return to Air Traffic Control twice during his retirement to train new controllers. He retired the final time in 1987. After his initial retirement he was able to spend at least three months each year during the winter in southern Florida.
Additionally, he and Jean spent many summers in Alaska. His favorite activities consisted of gardening, fishing and hunting. Both in Hume and in Florida, he was always there to lend assistance to anyone in need, especially if it involved cooking for a group. He was a member of the Hume Methodist Church, the Rich Hill American Legion Post and a former member of the Hume Lions Club and loyal member of the Moose. Willis was able to spend more years of his life retired than he did working.
Willis is survived by his wife, Lura Jean Zinn of Hume, Mo.; three daughters, Cathy Thurow and husband, Larry, of Monticello, Ill., Pamela "Pam" Yarick and husband, Meredith, of Hume, Mo., and Karen McClure and husband, Tom, of Bloomington, Ill.; six grandchildren, Heather Kibbler and husband, Sam, Ian Thurow, Kimberly Yarick, Matthew Yarick, Brooke McClure and Bill McClure; and many nephews, nieces, great-nephews and great-nieces. He was preceded in death by his parents; one brother, Robert Zinn; and two sisters, Ruby Werner and Verla Drysdale.
Funeral services will be held Friday, Jan. 25, at the Hume Methodist Church in Hume, Mo., with Kay Zimmer officiating. In lieu of flowers, contributions to Rich Hill American Legion, Hume Methodist Church or National Rifle Association. Burial will be in Fort Scott National Cemetery, Fort Scott, Kan.
Arrangements are made be Schowengerdt Funeral Chapel, (660) 679-6555, Butler, Mo.
Online condolences may be left at www.schowengerdtchapel.com.