Willis R. Goble, Sr., 91, retired insurance agent and realtor formerly of Columbia City died at 6:40 p.m. Wednesday, July 15, 2020 at the Townhouse, Fort Wayne where he had been a resident since.
A son of the late Ford H. and Lois M. (Rhoads) Goble, he was born on August 4, 1928 in Fort Wayne. Spending his formative years in Columbia City, he graduated from Columbia City High School in 1946. He continued his education at Indiana University where he earned a Bachelor’s degree.
Returning to Columbia City in 1950, he joined his father’s real estate, appraisal, and insurance business forming Ford H. Goble and Son, Inc. In 1983, he purchased the Raber house on west Jackson Street and converted it to his office and residence. His work career spanned 41 years, retiring in 1991.
A member of the Army Reserves, he was honorably discharged in 1958 with eight years of service attaining the rank of Lieutenant. Throughout his adult life he was active in local and state politics. In 1961 to 1968, he was appointed manager of the Columbia City License Branch and concurrently served as 4th District Young Democrat Chairman. From 1966 to 1972, he served as the Whitley County Democratic Party Chairman. From 1971 to 1991, he served as a Consultant of Division of Schools, Dept. of Public Instruction training over 10,000 new school bus drivers in the northern half of Indiana. He conducted over 40 re-certification classes annually. In 1968, he received the Sagamore of the Wabash presented by Governor Roger Branigin.
On July 1, 1983, he married Mary J. Reed. They made their home in Columbia City and maintained a summer residence at Smalley Lake in Noble County.
He was a member of over 50 years with the Columbia City Elks Club, the Eagles, Masonic Lodge 189, Fort Wayne Scottish Rite, Mizpah Temple and the Indiana University Alumni Association.
He is survived by his wife of 37 years, Mary; children, Willis R. Goble Jr. of Indianapolis, Brent D. (Patti) Goble of Carmel, Indiana, Rochelle (Dana) Feaster of Houston, Texas, and Ford A. (Heidi) Goble of Indianapolis; stepchildren, Bryan (Nan) Reed of Fort Wayne, Michael (Karen) Reed of Demacus, Oregon, Linda Reed of Nolensville, TN and Kirby (Kim) Reed of Orlando, FL; grandchildren, David P. Cangany of Indianapolis, Daniel F. Cangany of Houston, TX, Zachary, Ziva and Zoey Goble of Indianapolis, and Brent D. Goble Jr. of Carmel.
Additionally, he was preceded in death by sons; Gregory F. Goble and Bradley C. Goble; sisters Janet L. Walker, Barbara Demitry and Mary Lois Larson.
A graveside service will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday at the Greenhill Cemetery, Madison and Ellsworth Streets, Columbia City with the Korean War Honor Guard presenting honors. Arrangements are by Smith & Sons Funeral Home, Columbia City.
Preferred memorials are to Heartland Hospice.