Chris Robert Willi, 59 of Phoenix, Arizona passed away peacefully on June 8, 2021, after a brave battle with cancer. Chris didn’t let his diagnosis get him down, once saying “When life gives you lemons, make lemon merengue pie and throw it in someone’s face”. Chris was born on July 20, 1961, to parents Wanda and Karl Willi in Battle Creek, Michigan. He attended Athens High School in Athens, Michigan and later graduated from Magic City Campus High School in Minot, North Dakota. Chris went on to serve his country by enlisting in the Air Force where he served six years. Chris was preceded in death by his father Karl Willi and mother Wanda Willi. He is survived by his husband Jose Mejia-Willi, children, Troy Willi (Nicole) of Boca Raton, Florida, Angie Capra (Ben) of Fredericksburg, Virginia, Michelle Duflo of Phoenix, Arizona and Christy Willi of Surprise, Arizona; grandchildren, Mark, Victoria, Jared, Shawn, Benjamin, Noelle, Adrianna, Christopher and Jacob; great-grandson Anthony; siblings, Frank Willi, Kevin Willi and Karla Winkel, Superstar, Barbra Streisand and his stepmother Maryjane Willi and her children. Chris’s love for Barbra Streisand led him to meet his husband, Jose in 2012 after a Barbra Streisand concert in Brooklyn, New York. Chris and Jose shared countless adventures together and loved to travel the world. Chris always wanted twin girls, and he was gifted twin daughters in 1982. He also picked up two bonus children through marriage. He never passed up an opportunity to share stories about his kids and grandkids. Chris often said his daughter Michelle looked like him and has the heart of his mother, Wanda and his daughter Christy has his love for travel and his sense of humor, all qualities he loved about “his girls”. After being called “formidable” by his mother, he took it as a challenge to bar hop with his son Troy while he was visiting Florida, making new friends along the way. Chris’s grandparents instilled a passion for travel in him young and he carried that with him throughout his life and gifted that passion and knowledge to his own grandchildren. Chris loved to share his passion of travel with others, planning trips around the world, most notably Italy enjoying his favorite wine, Val d’Orcia while overlooking the beautiful views of Monticello. Countless road trips with his grandchildren Noelle and Christopher, he cherished seeing the world through their eyes. Noelle and Christopher will always remember their grandpa taking them on trips, especially buying cherries on road trips and spitting the pits out the window. Chris had an infectious personality; people were drawn to him. Chris was the ultimate friend; he had a way of making you feel you were the most special person in the world. Chris was a wordsmith, he loved to express his thoughts and emotions in writing. Chris was always there to brighten the lives of others. Chris was a devoted husband, dedicated father, incredible grandfather, loving brother, thoughtful friend, formidable person and much more. Chris had a larger-than-life personality and enjoyed life, family, and many friends. A Memorial Service will be held 2:00 p.m. Saturday, July 24, 2021, at the Richard A. Henry Funeral Home with visitation from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. Interment will follow at Burr Oak Cemetery in Athens. www.henryfuneralhome.org
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