John James Willett, 82

John James Willett, 82, of Tama, passed away Saturday, April 15, 2023, at Sunny Hill Care Center in Tama. A Memorial Service will be held Saturday, April 22, 2023, at 11:00 AM at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Tama with Pastor Warren Riley officiating. A Memorial Visitation will be held Friday, April 21, 2023, from 4-7 PM at Kruse-Phillips Funeral Home in Tama.

John James Willett was born December 8, 1940, the son of Walter James Willett and Marie Valrae Hutchinson Willett at Marshalltown, Iowa.

John was raised in Tama, Iowa, and attended the Iowa Braille and Sight Savings School in Vinton, Iowa, and graduated from Tama High School in 1960. He then entered the University of Iowa and received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in August of 1963 with a major in political science and a minor in speech. He then entered the University of Iowa College of Law and graduated in June of 1966. He successfully passed the bar examination and was admitted into practice in Iowa in June of 1966. He joined his father Walter J. Willett and his grandfather James H. Willett in the Willett and Willett law firm in Tama.

On September 8, 1963, John married Sally Jo Kriegel in Tama. They had two children, Ann Marie and David John. Ann passed away in 2016.

In 1969, John and his father opened a branch office in Dysart and the firm has continued to operate offices in Tama and Dysart. His grandfather, James H. Willett, died in 1967 and his father continued to be active in the firm until 1985 when he retired.

John was a member of the American Bar Association, the Iowa State Bar Association as well as the Tama County Bar Association. He was past president of the Tama County Bar Association and served as the Regional Vice President of the Municipal Attorney Association. He served as attorney for the cities of Tama, Garwin, Dysart and Montour.

In August of 1985, he was appointed to the position of Tama County Judicial Magistrate and continued to serve in that capacity until August of 2005, having been reappointed four times. He enjoyed serving with fellow magistrates John Felts and Ann Kuhter.

There was never any doubt about John becoming an attorney, it was always his ambition to be a lawyer like his forefathers. Being a fourth-generation family attorney gave him additional aspiration to succeed.

His great grandfather, James W. Willett, founder of the Willett law practice in Tama, practiced until he was 94. Walter Willett joined the family law firm in 1934 and worked well into the 1990s.

James W. Willett was a district judge for Tama, Marshall and Benton Counties. He tried a case before the Iowa Supreme Court when he was 92 years old. He was the national commander and the attorney for the Grand Army of the Republic.

John was very active in Civic organizations having served as the president of the Tama-Toledo swimming pool board, Tama County Zoning Commission, Tama Chamber of Commerce, Tama Lions Club, Tama County ARC and the Tama-Toledo Country Club. He served for six years as a member of the church council of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Tama. He also was a member of the ELK, Eagle and Lions clubs.

John and Sally enjoyed traveling. John was also very fitness conscience having taken up running in 1985 and enjoyed participating in 5k and 10k runs throughout Iowa and various parts of the country. He ran the Des Moines Marathon at the age of 68 and finished 3rd in his age division. He enjoyed, biking, golfing, swimming and walking.

John was an avid follower of the Iowa Hawkeyes athletic teams and was a lifelong Chicago Cubs and Green Bay Packers Fan.

John truly enjoyed his profession as he liked dealing with people. He was proud that he had the trust of people in dealing with their affairs.

He was a positive and upbeat person who enjoyed his family and friends.

He is survived by his wife Sally J. Willett and his son David John Willett (Kristen), of Powell, Ohio, grandchildren: Hayley Sweetin Tufano (Mario), Gavin Sweetin, Alana Willett, great grandchildren, Dean and Charlize Tufano. He is also survived by his sister Mary Ann Willett Doran, of Mission, Texas; two brothers, James William Willett (Paula), of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Richard Jay Willett (Sue), of Garland, Texas. He is also survived by several nieces and nephews.

Preceding him in death were his parents; his daughter, Ann; his brother-in-law, J.F. Doran; and his nephew, Jeff Doran.

A memorial fund will be established.