Maureen Alice Gerritz Willis

Published 6:27 pm Friday, February 21, 2020

Mrs. Maureen Alice Gerritz Willis, 78, of Burlington, peacefully ascended on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020, at the Hospice Home in Burlington, after a courageous and inspiring battle against PSP.

A native of Buffalo, New York, Mrs. Willis moved with her parents as a teenager to Richmond, Virginia. Mrs. Willis was the loving wife and best friend of Frederick “Fred” Wright Willis, Jr., and the daughter of the late Raymond John Gerritz and the late Alice Margaret Gallagher Gerritz. Maureen and Fred were married by Monsignor Byrne of Saint Bridget’s Catholic Church, Richmond, and were loving partners for 58 years.

Mrs. Willis graduated from Marymount, Richmond, in 1959 and Georgetown Visitation Junior College in Washington, DC, in 1961. While studying at Georgetown, she was active in the community and had the honor of serving as a hostess at John F. Kennedy’s inaugural ball.

Additionally, she was the Vice President and Secretary-Treasurer of Willis Fabricare, doing business as R.E. Boone Laundry and Dry Cleaners, Blaylock Dry Cleaners and Fifth Street Dry Cleaners and an active member of Blessed Sacrament Parish. Mrs. Willis continued her community involvement by serving as a regular volunteer helping to encourage voter registration and turnout.

After retiring, Mrs. Willis and her husband spent time living in Skipwith, Virginia, where they reunited with longtime friends the Roysters and Atkins, who became like family, and then Washington, North Carolina, where they enjoyed joyful times with dear friends making new memories, dancing and going on boating and RV adventures across the U.S. with their loyal dog, Prissy.

In addition to her husband Fred, Mrs. Willis is survived by her daughter, Mary Alice Smith, of Burlington; her son, Frederick “Fritz” Wright Willis III and his wife Kathi Denton Willis, of Morrisville; her grandchildren, Ashley Ray Smith and Ashley’s fiancé, Vinny Civitello, Sommer Leigh Laws and her husband Taylor, Bailey Grace Smith, Sarah Kate Willis and Frederick “Wright” Willis IV. Mrs. Willis was very excited to be expecting her first great-granddaughter, “Presleigh Rose Laws.” She was also survived by two sisters, Karen Gerritz Woehrle, of North Chesterfield, Virginia, and Carol Gerritz Sager, of Fredericksburg, Virginia; a brother, Danny H. Gerritz, of Richmond; and loving nieces and nephews.

Mrs. Willis is preceded in death by two loving brothers-in-law, Bob Woehrle and Glenn Sager.

There will be a private service held at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be made to either Hospice and Palliative Care of Alamance-Caswell, 914 Chapel Hill Road, Burlington, NC 27215 or Cure PSP, 1216 Broadway, 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10001. The family would like to show appreciation for the love and comfort provided by Hospice and by the team at Always Best Senior Services, as well as the researchers searching for a cure for PSP.

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