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Arden E. Wills

Published: Friday, Jan. 4, 2013 8:08 a.m. CDT

COAL CITY, Ill. — Mr. Arden E. Wills, 70, of Coal City, Ill., passed away with his loving family at his side Wednesday evening, Jan. 2, 2013, at Morris Hospital.

Visitation and video tribute will be from 2 to 7 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 6, at Reeves Funeral Home, 75 North Broadway (one block north of Illinois 113), Coal City. Arden will then lie in state at The First United Methodist Church, 6805 East McArdle Road, Coal City, on Monday, Jan. 7, from 9 a.m. until the time of the funeral service at 10 a.m. The Rev. Dr. Thomas Logsdon will officiate. Burial will follow in Mount Olivet Cemetery, Braidwood.

Born Aug. 3, 1942, in Joliet, Ill., Arden was a son of the late Arden and Ellen Farmer-Wills. He was educated in a one-room schoolhouse at Sulphur Springs Grade School, where he was the only eighth-grade student. Arden then graduated from Coal City High School and continued his education at Northern Illinois University, where he earned a B.S., M.S. and C.A.S.

On June 8, 1963, Arden married Carole Vilt in Assumption Catholic Church in  Coal City, and together they made their home on the family farm. Arden taught and coached at Saratoga Grade School and, later, was hired as superintendent at South Wilmington Grade School, from where he retired in 1998.

Arden was a founding administrative board member and past president of the Grundy County Special Education Cooperative and he also held the position of president of the Illinois Elementary School Association from 1986-1988. He was a member of Illinois Association of School Administrators and Illinois Principals Association.

Arden coached and directed Coal City Youth Baseball and was a recommending scout for the Pittsburgh Pirates Baseball Organization. Arden did all of this while continuing to work the family farm.

He will be remembered as an avid snowmobiler who enjoyed the Chicago White Sox, Chicago Blackhawks, and all high school sports. Arden took great pleasure in traveling, and had a tremendous love for his grandchildren, cherishing all of the time spent with them, and attending their activities.

Arden is survived by his loving wife of almost 50 years, Carole; three children, Gregory (Tiffany) Wills, Darin (Nikki) Wills, and Kristin (Lance) Copes, all of Coal City; six grandchildren, Brandon Wills, Alex Wills, Carter Copes, Beau Wills, Zoe Wills and Kerigan Copes: one brother, David (Jean) Wills of Coal City; and one sister-in-law, Sharon (Robert) Fricke of Melrose Park, Ill.; as well as niece and nephews DavyLynne Wills, Adam Wills, Allen Wills, Marc Fricke and Michael Fricke.

Arden was preceded in death by his parents; and three grandchildren in infancy, Ryan Wills, Caden Copes and Kellen Copes.

Preferred memorials may be made as gifts in Arden 's memory to his family for distribution to charities of their choosing.

Pallbearers and honorary pallbearers will be Arden's children and grandchildren.

Friends may sign the online guestbook or send private condolences to the family by logging onto

Funeral services and arrangements have been made under the direction and care of Reeves Funeral Homes Ltd. in Coal City. For additional information, call the funeral home at (815) 634-2125.

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