Cover photo for Douglas Wills's Obituary
Douglas Wills Profile Photo
1951 Doug Wills 2024

Douglas Wills

August 10, 1951 — May 5, 2024

New Philadelphia, Ohio

Douglas Stanley Wills, age 72, of New Philadelphia, died unexpectedly early Sunday, May 5, 2024 in his residence. 

Doug was born in Union Hospital at Dover on August 10, 1951. He was a son of the late Robert O. and Beverly Joyce Wills. 

A 1970 graduate of New Philadelphia High School, Doug furthered his education at Kent State University where he studied Industrial Engineering. At a young age, Doug began what would become a 55-year career with Buehler’s Fresh Foods in New Philadelphia. He started as a member of the clean up crew in the Meat Department and worked almost every job in the store, eventually becoming store manager. Doug led by example. He often said he would never ask a co-worker to do something he himself was not willing to do. He was a mentor to countless young people whose first job was with the grocery store; and with an ever-present smile on his face, Doug came alongside countless folk who just needed an extra hand at their jobs. Having served as a manager of both the New Philadelphia and Dover stores, Doug was known to be a hardworking, focused, kind, and fair boss. Most recently, he assisted the company in taking on a new venture and was looking forward to seeing the opening of the Dockside Bar and Grill at the Tappan Lake Marina. 

As a member of the community, Doug’s love for all things Tuscarawas County was evident in his various civic activities, which included the Dover Rotary where he served as the past president and had been honored as a Paul Harris Fellow. Additionally, he had a deep love for the arts and served on the board for the Tuscarawas Performing Arts Center. He was an active servant of the Greater Dover-New Philadelphia Food Pantry and a longtime board member of the Tuscarawas County Agricultural Society. As a Fair Board member, Doug was a driving force in many projects and supporter of agriculture awareness throughout the state. He was also involved in bringing the Motocross Show to the county fair, a personal passion of his from his younger years as a motocross and flat track racer himself. Doug was also heavily involved in the York Township Volunteer Fire Department for many years where he served in various roles during his tenure. In 1999, Doug was honored with the Zeisberger-Heckewelder Award for his humanitarian efforts and goodwill to the residents of Tuscarawas County. 

From a very young age, Doug followed in his mother’s footsteps as an active member of the Republican Party. He has served as a member of the Tuscarawas County Board of Elections for many years and since 1994 has served as the Chairman of the Tuscarawas County Republican Party. Doug has also served as a longtime member of the Republican Executive Committee for Tuscarawas County. He was slated to begin his third term with the District 31 State Central Committee and was planning to travel to the Republican National Convention in July where he was to have served as a delegate. Just a week ago, Doug was elected to the position of Vice-Chairman of the Ohio Republican Party. 

When not keeping busy with all of his work and civic activities, Doug enjoyed unwinding, showing his adventurous side and was always found with his favorite drink, Coca-Cola, in hand. He was a lifelong Cleveland sports fan. Doug was an accomplished water skier, who in his younger years skied in numerous tournaments and taught many others to ski as well. Doug loved being on the open water and boating. Whether enjoying a ride on Tappan Lake or the Gulf Coast, just being with the wind and waves was his idea of a great time. A recent opportunity to fly in a modern fighter jet was a lifetime thrill for Doug. He also thoroughly enjoyed a trip to a NASCAR Experience in which his prior years of motocross and motorcycle racing gave him the upper hand as he beat out all the others that day.  

On May 2, 1981, Doug married his high school sweetheart the former Barbara Linard. And while they recently celebrated their 43rd Wedding Anniversary, Doug and Barb have shared a lifetime of love and adventure for the past 57 years. In addition to his wife, Doug is survived by a sister, Adelia (Dave Goddard) Hobart of Dover; a sister-in-law, Vickie (Jeff) Evans of New Philadelphia; his nieces and nephews, Linda Spring, Stephen Spring, Pamela (Ron) Feldeisen, Ron (Teresa) Beal, David (Audra) Wills, Greg Wills, Megan Evans, Christy (Darrell Shafer) Evans and Amanda (Jim) Rackow; and numerous great-nieces and nephews, cousins and countless friends. 

In addition to his parents, Doug was preceded in death by a brother and sister-in-law, Robert C. and Carol Wills; a brother-in-law, D.J. Linard; and his mother and father-in-law, Don and Betty Linard.  

The family will greet guests on Thursday, May 9, 2024 from 2-4 and 6-8 PM in the Linn-Hert-Geib Funeral Home & Crematory at New Philadelphia and again one hour prior to services on Friday, May 10, 2024 from 10 – 11 AM in the Jerusalem Church at New Philadelphia. Rev. Dr. Tom Hendershot will lead a service celebrating Doug’s life at 11 AM at the church. Burial will follow in the Jerusalem Church Cemetery. 

The family requests memorial contributions in Doug’s name be directed to the Douglas Wills Junior Fair Scholarship c/o the Tuscarawas County 4H Committee, 419  16th Street SW, New Philadelphia, OH 44663, or to the Greater Dover-New Philadelphia Food Pantry, 420 W. Third Street, Dover, OH 44622. 

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Douglas Wills, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Thursday, May 9, 2024

2:00 - 4:00 pm (Eastern time)

Linn-Hert Geib Funeral Home & Crematory - New Philadelphia

116 2nd St. NE, New Philadelphia, OH 44663

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Visitation

Thursday, May 9, 2024

6:00 - 8:00 pm (Eastern time)

Linn-Hert Geib Funeral Home & Crematory - New Philadelphia

116 2nd St. NE, New Philadelphia, OH 44663

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Visitation

Friday, May 10, 2024

10:00 - 11:00 am (Eastern time)

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Funeral Service

Friday, May 10, 2024

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Burial

Friday, May 10, 2024

12:00 - 12:30 pm (Eastern time)

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