Cover photo for Delbert Willison's Obituary
Delbert Willison Profile Photo

Delbert Willison

August 11, 1938 — June 5, 2022

Mattoon, IL

Delbert Willison

Delbert Willison, 83, of Mattoon, IL passed away at 2:47 PM on Sunday, June 5, 2022 in Mattoon, IL.

Burial in the Cartwright Cemetery in Tuscola, IL will be held at a later date.  The Edwards Funeral Home is assisting with arrangements.

Del was born on August 11, 1938, in Newman, IL, to Sylvan and Wilma (Brooks) Willison.  He was preceded in death by his parents, brothers, Robert and Donald Willison, beloved sister-in-law, Sue Willison and a nephew, Donald W. Willison.  He is survived by a niece Quenna Cobstill and her husband Ian of Sullivan, IL. 

Del graduated in 1956 from Tuscola High School.  He continued his education at Eastern Illinois University with a bachelor's degree in education in 1960 and his master’s degree in 1964 from the University of Illinois.  He taught English in Mt. Pulaski from 1960-1964.  He started with the Mattoon High School in 1964 and remained a teacher until 1993.  Del then continued to write, monitor, and participate in a program for first- and second-year teachers in all the Mattoon schools until 2018.

Del held many positions and was active in numerous associations.  He held a chair in the English Department from 1969 to 1978 and was an adjunct professor at EIU.  He assisted in writing and administering an alternative education program for certifying teachers.  Del was a member governing the Board of Education Service Center from 1989 to 1993, a member of the National, Illinois and Mattoon association of education, and association of English Teachers and Gifted Education.  He was once compared to Robin Williams’ character in The Dead Poets Society, “He was very encouraging in a lot of unorthodox ways-very inspiring.  He is that teacher they make movies about.”

Reading fiction and professional material occupied most of his time.  He enjoyed his travels to Hawaii, New Orleans and also spent a few weeks in Europe.  He believed he was blessed by a multitude of inspiring students, colleagues, acquaintances, family, and religion. 

Memorials may be made to the Mattoon Unit Schools or St. Jude’s Children Hospital.

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


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