The Rev. Willis Rodolphus Howard of Plainfield died Wednesday following a brief illness. He was 85.
Born Nov. 29, 1927, in Loogootee, he was a son of the late Rodolphus and Grace (Caroll) Howard. He married Ruby Daron in 1950, and she died in ‘75. He married Margaret (Peg) Steward in 1978 and she survives.
He graduated from Alfordsville High School in 1946 and attended Indiana Central College. He was ordained in 1953.
Rev. Howard began his ministry in 1948 at Mooresville Methodist Church. He was a circuit minister, serving the churches of Wilbur and Poplar Grove, as well as Mooresville. He also served as an evangelist during that time. In 1952, he and his wife founded The Church by the Side of the Road, where he ministered for 60 years.
Additional survivors include children Colleen Lehman and husband Dave, Barry Howard and wife Paula, and Fairy Elmer and husband Steve; a brother, the Rev. Lester Howard and wife Mary; a sister, Esther Howard Benson; sisters-in-law Phyllis Howard, Roberta Howard, Stella Howard, Laura Wilson and husband Loren, Alma Laser and husband Al, and Maxine McGuire and husband Jack; a brother-in-law, Dan Daron and wife Sally; grandchildren Shawn Howard and wife Kristi, Cathy Kitchens and husband Rob, Emily Elmer, and Jacob Elmer; step grandchildren Stephanie Roell and husband Tyler, Noah Fuller, and Hannah Fuller; and great-grandchildren Madely Kitchens, Caleb Kitchens, Katelyn Kitchens, Lindsay Howard, and Ian Howard.
Preceding him in death were brothers Albert, Paul, Harold, and John Howard.
Services are 10 a.m. Saturday at The Church by the Side of the Road, 10323 E. C.R. 100 S., Avon.
Calling is from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday at Conkle Funeral Home in Avon and for an hour prior to the service at the church.
Memorials may be made to the church.