BELLEFONTE- Pastor Willis F. Kearns Jr., an ordained Presbyterian pastor of 44 years, went to be with the Lord Tuesday, July 31, 2012, after a long battle with cancer.
Pastor Kearns leaves behind his loving wife of 47 years, Maureen, of Bellefonte; a son, Jeff, of St. Louis, Mo.; his father, Willis Kearns Sr., of Lewistown; his sister Jan McCloskey and her husband, Wayne, of Howard; and a brother, Gary and his wife, Diana, of LaMesa, Calif.
Pastor Kearns was preceded in death by his mother, Bernice Kearns, in 2010.
He was born June 23, 1943. Pastor Kearns loved the Lord, loved his family, loved his congregations.
It was while he was working as a "Printers Devil" in high school, in Sharon, where the Kearnses lived at the time, and where he graduated high school in 1961, that he felt a definite call to the ministry. He then pursued that call with fervor by earning scholarships, grants and awards.
He served as a student pastor in his sophomore year at Grove City College, where he received his Bachelor of Philosophy Degree, in 1965. He won a full scholarship to Louisville Presbyterian Seminary, where he received his Master's of Divinity Degree, in 1968.
Pastor Kearns served churches in Kentucky, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and West Virginia. It was while serving the Huntingdon Presbyterian Church, Huntingdon, in 1998, that he felt a definite call to the intentional interim ministry. He answered that call and served six churches as an interim until he retired in June, 2008. He then continued in the ministry, serving as Stated Supply in a small church, then accepted two more interim positions, having served the Lord for 50 years, through April 15, 2012.
A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, August 18, 2012, at Faith United Methodist Church, 512 Hughes St., Bellefonte, with Pastor Andrew Morgan officiating.
In lieu of flowers, Pastor Kearns' wife asks that donations in his memory be sent to Compassion International's Unsponsored Children's Fund, 12290 Voyager Parkway, Colorado Springs, CO 80921, your local hospice or your local cancer society.
Arrangements are under the direction of Wetzler Funeral Service Inc., Bellefonte, PA. Online condolences to the family at www.wetzlerfuneralhome. com.