Cover photo for Joseph "Joe" C. Willey's Obituary
Joseph "Joe" C. Willey Profile Photo
1939 Joseph 2023

Joseph "Joe" C. Willey

April 15, 1939 — March 13, 2023

Joseph “Joe” C. Willey 83, of Groves, Texas passed away on Monday, March 13, 2023 in Port Arthur, Texas. Joe was born in Port Neches, Texas on April 15, 1939 to the late, Frank Willey and Serena Ratcliff Willey.
From 1956 ~ 1979, Joe served his country proudly in the United States Navy. He was part of the U.S. Navy Shipboard Firefighting Damage Control, Aircraft Fire and Crash Rescue. In 1979 he became Director of the Lamar University Fire and Rescue Institute. He built the Industrial Fire Training Program from scratch to a school that trained over 8,000 Industrial Firefighters a year. Joe was also in charge of the 360 hour State Certification for Municipal Firemen. When Les and Dwight Williams left Boots & Coots and started Williams Fire and Hazard Control, Joe help start the first 3M Foam school in 1982. He personally treasures the certificate signed by Boots Matthews and Coots Hansen, two of the all-time legends in the Firefighting Industry. Joe has served as a guest instructor at Texas A&M Industrial Fire School every July for the past 35 years. From 1988 ~ 2013 Joe was employed by Elkhart Brass where he traveled over one million miles selling brass products and 700,000 miles towing demo trailers. He has performed demonstrations to over 40,000 students with the largest demonstration having over 3,000 attendees at Monroe Fire School in 1994. Joe retired from Elkhart Brass in 2013 and then went to work for Dooley Tackaberry. Joe had the outstanding accomplishment of celebrating his 60th year in the firefighting industry on April 23, 2016.
Those left to cherish Joe’s memory include his loving wife of 32 years, Irene Willey of Groves, Texas; son, Firmin Willey of Irving, Texas; daughters, Jennifer Blair and her husband, Paul of Nederland, Texas, Margaret Hunt and her husband, Daniel of Nederland, Texas; and Leslie Engelmann of Irving, Texas; brother Phillip Willey of Winnie, Texas; nine grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren.
Joe is preceded in death by his parents, Frank Willey and Serena Ratcliff Willey; daughter, Hope Willey; sisters, Nancy Templain, Elizabeth Mathews, Edna Totten, Beatrice Williams, Annette Lormand; brother, Frank Willey, Jr.; and his granddaughter Shaina Willhoit.
A gathering of family and friends will be held at Melancon’s Funeral Home in Nederland on Wednesday, March 22, 2023 from 5:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. Joe will be laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia with full Military Honors at a later date.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Joseph "Joe" C. Willey, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Gathering of Family and Friends

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

5:00 - 8:00 pm (Central time)

Melancon's Funeral Home

1605 Avenue H, Nederland, TX 77627

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