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Obituary – Jeff Willis



Jeffery Keith "Jeff" Willis, a resident of Belfast, TN, passed away Thursday, April 8th, 2021, at the age of 56.

Funeral services will be held at 2:00 p.m. Sunday, April 11th, at Jeffcoat Funeral Home in Tallassee, AL, with Rev. Todd Smith officiating.  Burial will follow in Carrville Cemetery.  Family will receive friends at 1:00 p.m. until the time of the service.

Jeff was preceded in death by his father, Kenneth Willis.  He is survived by his mother, Mary DeAnna Willis; son, Zachary Willis; daughter, Taylor Willis (Chad) Hunter; sister, Amanda Willis (Tim) Brice; brother, Barry (Laura) Willis; granddaughter, Meredith Price Hunter; niece, Charlotte Willis; special friend, Nancy Lynn Greene; and several aunts, uncles, and cousins.

Jeff was born November 7, 1964, in Tallassee, AL.  He grew up in Alabaster, AL, where he was a 1982 graduate of Thompson High School.  While at Thompson, he played on two state championship football teams, kicking the winning field goal in one of those games.  He continued his love of football, playing at Auburn University and Jacksonville State University before joining his father, Ken, as a professional walking horse trainer.

Jeff and Ken trained many champions in Alabama and Tennessee including Copy's Evil Spirit, Pride's Lady Ann, Pride's Sunrise, Impressive Sunrise, Sunrise Que Sera Sera, The Dixie Lineman, Portrait of Art, Main Majorette, Cash's Baby Girl, Winning Candidate, Extra Good Looking, Jazz's Blue Note, How Bout Ya Cash, He's All Jacked Up, Bella Sera at the Ritz, Armed Lady, He's Hot as Fire, Nite Doctor, Doc of the Day, Sunrise Hammerin Hank, General Gunn, Mark Zone, Straight Line, Slam's Grand Performance, and Gold Poison.  He was a popular horse show judge and was honored to officiate at the 2011 Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration.

An accident forced Jeff to retire from horse training in 2016, but he continued his passion for football.  He was the offensive coordinator for Liberty School for eight seasons.

Jeff is remembered as a practical joker and a loyal friend.  His smile was contagious, and he loved his family, friends, and Auburn football.  He enjoyed mentoring young athletes, riders, and upcoming trainers.

A Celebration of Life service will be held in Middle Tennessee in the coming weeks. The date and location will be announced soon.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Walking Horse Trainers Association, P.O. Box 61, Shelbyville, TN 37162, or Liberty Football, attention Sheila Ray, 500 Snell Rd, Shelbyville, TN  37160.

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