Willis Ruell Bettis, 88, of Cumming, died Sept. 14, 2012.
Born March 1, 1924, to the late C. Roy Bettis and Lillie Mae Bryant Bettis, he was a native of Forsyth County with a lifelong association with the Midway community.
He was a member and deacon of Longstreet Baptist Church.
He was a building contractor known for many of his custom homes throughout North Georgia.
He also loved to travel. His travel included visits to Australia, Canada, Greece and Turkey. He especially loved Biblical connections with his travel adventures. A visit in the footsteps of Paul at Ephesus was one of his favorite travel experiences and dominated conversation for years to follow.
Growing up in Forsyth County, Ruell was quite the sportsman and outdoorsman. Well into adulthood, Ruell enjoyed playing basketball and baseball. Many remember his pitching and hitting abilities decades later. A devout Braves fan, Ruell coached Pony League baseball. A love for fishing and hunting was buoyed by the construction of Lake Sydney Lanier. As he aged, golf became a passion.
He served as chairman of the Forsyth County Hospital Board for several years, as well as on the advisory board of a local bank and a housing authority.
A 50 year member of the Ducktown Masonic Lodge, Ruell also served his community as PTA president at Midway Elementary School. While in that capacity, he was trusted with interviewing and assisting with the hiring of school principals. He was also employed to design school building additions despite lacking an engineering degree.
Known for his storytelling and encouragement of young people, many in the community often sought out his wisdom and advice.
Survivors include his wife of 60 years, Mary Jo Robbs Bettis; son Phill Bettis and daughter-in-law, Wanda Bettis; son, Stan Bettis and daughter-in-law, Paige Bettis; son, Bryan Bettis and daughter-in-law, Melanie Bettis; grandchildren, Emily Bettis, Barry Bettis, Spenser Bettis, Hannah Bettis, Adam Bettis, Addison Bettis and Blake Bettis; sisters-in-law, Lunell Robbs, Mary Jo Robbs and Betty Jean Cato; various other relatives also survive.
Funeral services were held at 2 p.m. Sept. 16 at the Ingram Funeral Home Chapel with the Revs. Doug Carnes, Terry Caylor, Pete Martin and John Lummus officiating. Interment followed in Sawnee View Memorial Gardens.
Ingram Funeral Home and Crematory of Cumming was in charge of the arrangements.