Willard Morris Vinson, 80, passed away Sunday, Dec. 18, 2016 at his home in Eastpoint.

Willard was born in Jacksonville on April 10, 1936 to the late Robert and Ceda Mae (Morris) Vinson.

At an early age, Willard and his family moved to Franklin County. He graduated from Carrabelle High School in 1955. His senior class took a trip to New York by train. Willard took his guitar along and sang and entertained the passengers. He had a great time.

Willard honorably served his country for six years in the National Guard. He later married his lifelong mate, Annette Nixon, and during the early years of their marriage, Willard and Annette were members of The Eastpoint Civic Club. Together with other townspeople they gathered signatures and negotiated to establish the Eastpoint Water and Sewer District.

Willard loved country-western music and with his buddies, J. W. Bouington, Will Millender and Bobby Taylor they formed a band, The Apalachicola Valley Boys. They performed at different venues around the state and even cut a record in Nashville, Tennessee.

In 1962, Willard was born-again and with his wife became members of Eastpoint Church of God, where their children were brought up. A few years later they started a business known as Bay Seafood.

In 1984 he won a countywide election and became a member of the Franklin County Board of Commissioners. He worked diligently to prevent the establishment of anything that would pollute the pristine waters of the Apalachicola River and Bay. He made many trips to the capitol in Tallahassee to speak and lobby for legislation that would help our county. He worked alongside the doctors of marine science and biology, also senators and representatives. He introduced them to the problematic issues concerning the livelihood of the people of our county.

In 1986 Willard took the course to become a correctional officer and started working for the Florida Department of Corrections and remained there until his retirement in Sept. 2011. He was very passionate about his work and the place he loved so deeply. Only a person with such devotion to a cause could understand how difficult it was to eventually let go and fade from the scene. Now he has gone on to another scene, a scene so beautiful and glorious that it begs description, a place where there will be no more exhausting work, heartaches, or burdens. Only peace, love and joy awaits him there.

We loved him and will miss him, but we hold onto the long list of memories he imprinted on our hearts and minds. One day we will see him again.

He was preceded in death by his parents and two brothers, David and Wayne Vinson.

Willard is survived by his wife, Annette; two sons, Ronald S. Vinson of Tallahassee, and Raymond W. Vinson of Havana; daughter, Rhonda L. Sigland of Sweden; eight grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren; and a sister, JoAnn Neshat of Eastpoint.

Funeral services will be held at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 20 at Eastpoint Church of God with Pastor Susan Roach and Rev. Larry Stirling officiating. The family will receive friends at 2 p.m. prior to services. Burial will follow the funeral service at Eastpoint Cemetery.

Adams Funeral Home in Blountstown is in charge of arrangements. You may offer condolences online at adamsfh.com