Willard Wayne Corliss
After an 11-year hard-fought battle with Parkinson’s, Will died peacefully on Feb. 28th at Nashoba Valley Medical Center in Ayer. He was born in Leominster almost 78 yrs ago to parents Spencer & Marion Corliss. Will was the 2nd of their eight children. Surviving siblings are Martin (wife Jane, son James) of Marshfield; Barry (son Wesley) of Leominster; Marilou (3 children Ross, Rachel & Audrey) of Leominster & Madine of Leominster. Besides his parents, three of his brothers also pre-deceased him: Spencer, Ronald & Bruce. Will leaves his wife of over 55 yrs Mary Jane (DiMego) & their three
children: Glenn (wife Ellen) of Leominster; Heidi (husband James Gworek) of East Hampton, CT; & Keith of Lunenburg. His seven treasured grandchildren (Sarah, Kristy, Katie, Spencer, Hannah, Josh & Kyle) & 1 great-grandson (Kyran) will all miss their Grampy, who could always make them laugh with one of his many stories & showed them such limitless love. Two sisters-in-law, Carolyn, of Leominster & Rae of South Carolina held special places in his heart as well.
An LHS graduate, Will attended Worcester Jr. College & Boston University. His career took him all over the world – from the Far East, Near East, & Australia to South America, Hawaii, Bermuda & much of the lower 48 as well. He was a field engineer supporting the Marines of VMGR-152, who were flying C130 aircraft in & out of Viet Nam, during the 1960’s. In the early 1970’s he worked on the Lunar Module development program at Cape Canaveral, which eventually saved the astronauts on the Apollo 13 Moon Mission. He & a co-worker were two of the last Americans to escape from Iran when the revolution took place that saw the Shah overthrown. Somehow he also found time to operate several area businesses – “Spencers” & “Field & Stream Sporting Goods” in Leominster &“Raffles” in Fitchburg. A life-long aviation enthusiast, Will restored & flew several vintage planes & built three hangars at the Orange Airport, before Parkinson’s took away his ability to fly.
The Corliss family will be welcoming friends & family at a casual gathering to remember Will on Saturday, March 3rd from noon to 3 pm, at Cristina’s in Leominster. Per his wishes, there will be no formal services.
To send flowers to Willard's family, please visit our floral section.