The Obit For Willard Speaks

Willard Gray Speaks

Published in the Winston-Salem Journal from 10/20/2008 - 10/21/2008

WINSTON-SALEM - Willard Gray Speaks, 88, of Winston-Salem, NC was called to heaven on Oct. 18, 2008. Willard was born July 30, 1920 in Winston-Salem and passed away at Forsyth Memorial Hospital.

He was preceded in death by his mother, Ada Speaks; a brother, Ralph Speaks, a sister, Lou Long, and his loving wife, Ruth Davis Speaks. He is survived by his wife, Ruby Neal Speaks; his son, Johnny Speaks; his daughter, Becky and her husband, Bruce Goodman; step-daughter, Barbara Newby and her husband, John Newby; and step-son, Don Neal and Martha Neal. He is also survived by three grandsons: Brandon and Daniel Speaks and Bryan Goodman; one step-grandson, Phillip Newby; and great-grandson, Ethan Goodman; one brother, Jack Speaks; six sisters, Vera Mae (Sis) Wright, Ruby Myers, Helen Wynn, Edith Sprinkle, Jean Leonard, and Doris Kiser.

Willard was an athlete, a three sport star at Gray High School and signed with the Boston Red Sox. He spent 5 years in the Marine Corps reaching the rank of Sergeant.

He was employed by R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company and retired after 41 years of service. Willard loved to bird hunt and hunt for birdies on the golf course. He made it his goal to have his best garden each year and enjoyed sharing his prize tomatoes with everyone.

He loved children and provided smiles and joy to countless boys and girls as he put on his suit and wonderful wig and beard to represent Santa Claus, never missing a Christmas for over 50 years.

The last several months of his life, he found great pleasure playing with Ethan. Willard loved God, life, family, and he loved to laugh, telling jokes at every opportunity. He will be missed by so many. S

pecial thanks to Dr. English for caring for Willard all these years, Dr. Smull for recent support, and to Forsyth Medical Center Cardiac Intensive Care Unit for their special care in making his last trip home a peaceful journey. (Keith Humphries, Steve Puckett, Ebony Watkins and Joan Moore.)

The family will receive guests on Monday night from 6-8 p.m. at Hayworth Miller, Silas Creek Parkway and the Funeral Service with be conducted at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, October 21, 2008 at Hayworth Miller Chapel, Silas Creek Parkway with burial to follow at Forsyth Memorial Gardens.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society 4-A Oak Branch Dr., Greensboro, NC 27407.

Online condolences may be made at www.hayworth-