Yvette Estelle (Rioux) Willis
Wellesley, MA - Willis, Yvette Estelle (Rioux) 96, loving mother, sister, grandmother, and great-grandmother, passed away on June 22, 2019 in Wellesley, MA, surrounded by her family.
Yvette was born on February 12, 1923 in Fort Kent, ME on the Canadian border and spent her earliest years in nearby Madawaska. As a child, her primary language was French, learning English after she began school in the first grade. She received her Nursing degree in 1944 from Sister's Hospital in Waterville, ME, and enjoyed a lifelong career in nursing. In May 1946, Yvette met Norman Willis, whom she felt she "had always known," at a dance in Skowhegan, ME. They were married the day after Christmas that same year. Together, they raised seven children and were blessed with a beautiful marriage for 63½ years until Norman's passing in April 2010.
In addition to her husband Norman, Yvette was predeceased by her son Reid Willis (Denise), daughter Sheryl Willis Crandell (John, dec.), and sister Fleurette Miller. She is survived by a large and adoring family: brother Conrad Rioux; sister Maxine Dunnell; children Dean Willis (Beth), Elaine Morin (John), Mark Willis (Lou Ann), Robin Baghai (Hassen), and Paul Willis (Holly); 23 grandchildren; and 42 great-grandchildren.
Growing up in height of the Depression, Yvette and her siblings experienced a number of challenges. But Yvette never dwelled on the hardships of her formative years. Rather, she was profoundly grateful for her blessings and fueled by a strong work ethic and sense of purpose.
A devout Catholic, Yvette's relationship with a loving God was a guiding focus of her life. She embodied selfless love - and for her family, there is nothing she would not do. Born with three batteries, as some would say, she had an endless supply of energy as a dedicated mother and grandmother. She would make those she loved feel special and cared for, through deep and meaningful conversations, long handwritten notes, never-forgotten birthday cards, and heartfelt "God bless you" at the end of each chat.
Yvette's family and friends are tremendously grateful for her life, love and example. They will carry with them wonderful memories - times together in Harmony and Dexter, rivalrous Scrabble games, scrumptious Grammie Bread, her bounding laugh and beautiful smile. In her honor, Yvette's family will remain close and continue to share between them her unconditional love and faith. "Well done, good and faithful servant." Welcome home.
A funeral Mass will be held on Saturday, August 3, 2019 at 10am at St. Paul's Catholic Church, 502 Washington Street, Wellesley, MA. Donations in Yvette's memory can be made to the New England Hemophilia Association- https://www.newenglandhemophilia.org; 347 Washington Street, Suite 401, Dedham, MA 02026; (781) 326-7645. For directions and guestbook, gfdoherty.com. Funeral arrangements by George F. Doherty & Sons Funeral Home, Wellesley, MA.
Published on July 19, 2019


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