Kernersville NC – Stuart “Stu” Ryan Willard, 31, passed away suddenly at his home, Sunday, February 9, 2020.
Stuart was born October 13, 1988 in Missoula Montana where he lived during his young childhood years. Stuart developed an early affinity for railroads and trains, a love and special bond that he shared with his great-grandfather, Ralph. Stu liked ice skating and sledding in the winter. In the summer, Stu spent countless days running around outside with his neighborhood friends, swimming, riding bikes, or playing with his cousins at grandma’s house. He was fond of the many special hunting and fishing trips he took with his uncles and grandfathers. Pizza. Always.
In the fall of 1994, Stuart moved with his family to Kernersville North Carolina where he attended school at Cash Elementary, Kernersville Middle School, and East Forsyth High School.
Over the years, Stuart played a variety of sports from baseball and basketball to wrestling and football, but ultimately enjoyed playing the position of spectator best. Stu always supported his hometown University of Montana Grizzlies and of course, his Carolina Panthers.
Stuart called North Carolina home, but was always proud of his Montana roots and loved going back to visit. There he enjoyed white-water rafting, hiking up the “M”, and swimming at Flathead Lake or Lolo Hot Springs.
Stuart loved animals and was an especially great “fur-dad” to his corgis, Tuffer and Walter. He shared a love and special bond with his uncle Bart, a mentor, friend, and fellow corgi aficionado.
In Stuart’s early teens, he found a passion for music, especially punk. Often, and most terribly, Stu and his friends could be found practicing in his parents garage, with Stu usually playing the bass. He later went on to front the short-lived but legendary group, Stu Willard and the Stalkers. Not only did Stu find bandmates through music, but also life long friends.
Stu’s humor shone at an early age, ending his 4- year- old jokes with Fozzy Bear’s “Waka, Waka” every time. By his teens, he was known to have a quick wit, great one-liners, and an unparalleled sense of humor. Stu had great appreciation for the vernacular.
Stu was a beloved son and an incredible brother who loved his parents and family greatly. He was an outstanding uncle who adored his niece, Jorden and nephew, Bryant. He loved being uncle Stu and made sure they were exposed to his favorites: pizza, maple bars, and Swedish fish. Stu was a rare and loyal friend who brought love and laughter to those who knew him.
Stu had a sweet soul, was empathetic, and compassionate to everyone. He was loved.
Stuart was preceded in death by his mother this past March, Shelly Willard; His grandfathers, William Willard and Jack Sterner, his beloved great-grandparents Ralph and Ruby Surbrook, great-grandmother Margaret Grove all of Montana, and his uncle Brent Willard and aunt Tina Sterner-Smith of Washington.
He is survived by his dad, Scott Willard and sister, Andi Lane Price, brother in-law Jeremy Price and the twinkles of his eye, niece Jorden Lane Price and Bryant William Price all of Kernersville, North Carolina. His grandmothers, Nyla Sterner, Missoula MT, Verna (Clarence) Johnson, Libby MT, Aunt Sheri Lynn Willard, Chicago IL, Uncle Bart (Christy) Willard, Cincinnati OH, Aunt Claudi Jo (Tim), Hamilton MT, Uncle Shane (April) Sterner, Missoula MT and many cousins in Montana, Washington, and Canada.
The family will receive friends from 1:00 pm until 3:00 pm on Sunday, February 16, 2020 at Hayworth-Miller Kernersville Chapel. A graveside service will take place this summer at Sunset Memorial Gardens in Missoula, Montana, where he will be laid to rest alongside his beloved mother, Shelly.
Following the visitation, the Willard family would like to invite anyone who wishes to attend a reception to celebrate Stu’s life from 4:00 pm until 6:00 pm at Homewood Suites by Hilton in Greensboro, at 201 Centerport Dr, Greensboro, NC 27409.
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