On September 21, 2018 the Network in Aging lost one of its greatest supporters, Bob Wills. Bob was a longtime member of the Network and served two terms as the President of the Board of Directors from 2008-2012. In addition to being the President, and then Past President of the Board for four years, Bob was a co-chair of the Membership Committee. As the co-chair he, almost single-handedly, organized and coordinated the Network with the Network events for many years. He had a knack for pairing agencies to highlight their businesses. In 2006 Bob was an integral part in the creation of the Network’s Jerry Flaschner Humanitarian Spirit Award Scholarship Fund which continues today to benefit students in the field of aging.
Bob was a very accomplished man. As quiet and laid back as Bob was, you may be surprised to see the long list of his accomplishments. An Eagle Scout, Bob was a 1976 graduate of Dunkirk High School. He was the treasurer of his class for all four years, earning letters in varsity football and track. Bob received an appointment to attend the United States Military Academy at West Point where he represented his company in the Sandhurst Military Skills Competition. Graduating in 1980 as a Second Lieutenant, Bob served five years in the Army Corps of Engineers and graduated from the United States Army Ranger School, an elite combat leadership course.
Bob left his military career with the rank of Captain and began his civilian career as a Project Manager in Civil Engineering for Mobil Corporation. In this role, bob traveled extensively throughout Asia, Great Britain, and New Zealand, living internationally for several years. Bob’s adventurous spirit always resulted in amusing and entertaining travel stories.
After taking time out to receive a Master of Business Administration from the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School in 1992, Bob started his first business called Wills Lawn & Landscaping, an organic landscaping business that he operated for 10 years. Continuing his education, Bob later earned his designation as a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) and started a second business as an independent Financial Planner associated with Waddell & Reed. His financial investment expertise combined with his reputation for integrity and relentless work ethic allowed Bob to build a highly successful client portfolio. Literally hundreds of clients benefitted from Bob’s financial acumen. Bob hosted his own radio show on Buffalo Station WLVL for several years, focused on Financial Planning. He was a very courageous and dedicated person, continuing to serve his clients while fighting his illness to the end.
When talking to Bob, whether it be for business or pleasure, he never let the focus of the conversation be about himself or his illness. Unless you knew about his illness, you would never guess that he was going through the fight of his life.
Not that Bob knew, or if he did, he made light of it, he was a mentor to many, not only with the Network in Aging but in life too. He willingly shared his love and knowledge, gave guidance without giving the answer, he advised with kindness and forethought and he always did this with gentleness and goodwill. To say, to know Bob is to love Bob, is an understatement. He was loved and admired by many and will be greatly missed. Our condolences go out to all of Bob’s family and friends. A celebration of Bob’s life will be held on November 9, 2018 at the Ebenezer United Church of Christ, 630 Main Street, West Seneca, NY beginning at 11:00am.