Marks Lee Willett, 93, passed away Monday, December 10, 2012, at Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center, Medford.
He was the oldest of five children born to Arthur Lee Willett and Ottie Marks Willett on August 2, 1919, in Berryburg, Barbour County, WV. He attended schools in Philippi, WV and married his childhood sweetheart, Dorothy Ellen Phillips. They celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary in August 2009.
Marks worked various jobs to help support his family during the depression years. After high school he operated heavy equipment in WV and Pennsylvania. He joined the U.S. Navy SeaBees during WWII and spent the war in the South Pacific, building landing strips and working on floating drydocks. He returned to Philippi, WV to his wife and two daughters after he was honorably discharged as Chief Machinist's Mate in December 1945. The family moved to Long Beach, Calif. in 1947, where two more daughters were born.
Marks was a member of Operating Engineers Union Local 12 and recently received his 70-year pin. In 1950, he worked for the Atomic Energy Commission in the Marshall Islands, building structures for hydrogen bomb tests. Marks worked in road construction for Griffith Company for 20 years. In 1956, the family moved to Lakewood, Calif. Upon retirement Marks and Dorothy moved to Cave Junction, Ore. in 1974, where they enjoyed gardening and raising livestock.
Marks was an active member of many Masonic organizations including: Belt Lodge #18, Kerby, life member; Cascade Lodge #208, Shady Cove, life member; Rogue River Lodge #226, Grants Pass; Bellflower Lodge #523; O.E.S. 50-year member Western Star #64, Kerby; O.E.S. Rogue River Daylight Chapter #186; O.E.S. Josephine Chapter #26; Order of the Amaranth, Douglas Court #18; Hillah Shriners, Medford; Scottish Rite, 32nd degree, Medford and International Legion of Honor.
Marks was proceeded in death by his wife, Dorothy; brothers, Charles Malcom and Arthur Myers; sisters, Eloise Mae Cross and Martha Swain. He is survived by his daughters, Jacqueline Reichard, of Madera, Calif., Jo Ann (Lenard) Bonde, of Plummer, Idaho, Margaret Alfaro (Bob Nichols), of Medford, and Marsha Marolda, of Lakewood, Calif. He is also survived by nine grandchildren: Jan (Mike) Mytych, Elaine Reichard (Robert Brassfield), Gary Reichard, all of Madera, Calif.; Jeff (Denise) Reichard, of Coarsegold, Calif.; Mark (Dawn) Kaiser, of Eagle River, Alaska; Stephen Kaiser (Evette Barrow), and Ramon (Jessica) Alfaro, of LaMirada, Calif.; Jason (Rhonda) Marolda, of Sunnyvale, Calif.; and Gina (Mike) Healey, of Lake Forest, Calif.; 14 great-grandchildren; and three great-great grandchildren.
Marks will be interred with military honors at Eagle Point National Cemetery, where his remains will join those of his beloved wife. A memorial service is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. on March, 2, 2013, at the Kerby Belt Building.