“Sonny” Merrial Willner
June 12, 1936 to March 4, 2022
Sonny Willner passed away with his family at his side. He joins his wife Peggy, whom he met on a blind date, April Fool's Day 1960 and his granddaughter, Olivia Orwig in Heaven. He enlisted in the United States Air Force in 1955 and proudly served his country for 20 years and 19 days. During the mid-50's 3 unique squadrons were formed as part of the Aero Material Command, one of them at Robin’s Air Force Base Georgia, known as the 7th Logistic Support Squadron. Sonny was selected and proudly served in this squadron. The 7th Log consisted of a group of specially trained and skilled pilots, crew members and ground support personnel whose duties were highly classified. The purpose of the 7th Log was to support the Department of Defense in special weapons defense. The members of the squadron shuttled components throughout the world, on the Douglas C124C-Globemaster, and the Robins 7th Log unit was the primary mover. Sonny took on this risky assignment because it was necessary for the preservation of our country’s defense.
He retired from the USAF in 1975 and relocated his family to Illinois where he spent the next 20 years working for GTE before his second retirement. He then spent several years driving cars for different dealerships only to retire a third time to care for his wife prior to her passing.
Sonny is survived by his daughters Carla (Steve) Pinneke and Merle (Doug) Orwig. Granddaughters, Lauren (Chuck) Johnson and Josie (Meg) Holderby. He was Big Granddad to Russell and Ellie Johnson his two great grandchildren. He is survived by many other family members.
In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made directly to OSF Healthcare Peace Meals or Home Sweet Home Ministries in his name.
His service will be at Trinity Lutheran Church in Bloomington at 10:00 a.m. Friday, March 11, 2022, with no visitation. Anyone attending his service is asked to wear a mask. Interment will be at East Lawn Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Bloomington. Kibler-Brady-Ruestman Memorial Home is assisting the family with arrangements.