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Eskridge-Thomas J. "T.J." Willard, 68 passed away Thursday, January 13, 2022, at his rural Eskridge home. He was born November 28, 1953 in Topeka, KS. He was the son of Gordon G. and Geraldine J. Schutter Willard. TJ attended Topeka West High School before moving to the family farm in the Snokomo area, where he graduated from Mission Valley High School in 1972. TJ worked out of Local 304 before starting Willard Backhoe. Later becoming a member of Operating Engineers Local 101 out of Topeka. TJ was very proud of his safety record with having no one ever get hurt while being a crane operator. He was a past member of International Brotherhood of Electrical Local 304. TJ also had been a Hunter Safety Instructor. He raised cattle on the family farm for several years. He enjoyed teaching his children and grandchildren how to hunt, fish and how to fix and build many things around the home. TJ was preceded in death by his parents and a son, Jason J. Willard on August 9, 2012. He was united in marriage to Brenda J. Prescott on August 2, 1974. She survives of the home. Other survivors include two sons, Brett (Jeni) Willard, Topeka and Charlie (Veronica) Willard, Eskridge; his daughter-in-law, Renae Willard, Carbondale; a brother, Dan (Susan) Willard, Valley Falls; his sister, Karol (Gary) Ely, Frisco, TX; brother in laws Don (Gwen) Prescott, Virginia Beach, Virginia; Monty (Ruth) Prescott, Manhattan, KS; five grandchildren, Haley (Trenton) Willard-Padgett, Cade, Gabe, Kinlee, and Carter Willard; two step-grandchildren, Alex and Nick Harris; four step great-grandchildren, Cameron, Aiden, Brantley and Cohen, as well as many nieces and nephews. A Celebration of Life will be at a later date. Memorial contributions may be made to Autism Speaks or Maisie DeVore Community Pool and sent in care of Piper Funeral Home, 714 Maple Street, St. Marys, Kansas 66536. To leave online condolences go to www.piperfuneralhome.com.
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