School 09

Beverly R. Wills

December 26, 1940 ~ September 9, 2021 (age 80)


Beverly Ruth Wills

December 26, 1940-September 9, 2021

Beverly Ruth Wills was born December 26, 1940, in Elkhart, Indiana, to the late Helen Katherine Mueller Wills and James M. Wills. Judy DaPolito, cousin from West Carrolton, Ohio, is her only surviving relative.


After stints as a bookkeeper, a boat hop serving Cris Crafts, and a switchboard operator, Beverly, realizing her talents were more suited to teaching, decided on a safer career as an educator. Beverly taught every level from pre-kinder to doctoral, every age group in a variety of subjects, and all ability levels from illiterates to post docs.


Beverly lived an adventurous life, at various stages reinventing her life, meeting new challenges, and forging a varied career. After one year of teaching in the U.S., she taught English, journalism, acting and history in Barranquilla, Columbia, and taught English as a Second Language with Standard Oil in New Jersey in Tia Juana, Venezuela. She traveled extensively in the Caribbean and in the Americas. Beverly lived, studied, and worked in Spain, Mexico, Venezuela and Columbia and the United States, including at Ball State, Purdue, Ohio State and University of Michigan.


After returning to the states, Beverly taught on the secondary level, primarily at John Adams High School. She, however, also taught English as a Second Language [ESL] to illiterate and semi-literate migrant workers and Adult Basic Education and ESL to Spanish speakers through a phonetic and structural team-teaching approach. She also wrote and recorded promotional announcements in English and Spanish for television and radio, designed ESL curricula, wrote instructional materials, and worked with supportive agencies. She formulated, organized, and implemented extensive media and community public relations programs for adult education.  Beverly designed and delivered varied workshops and presentations and prepared for publication and submission of the John Adams High School Performance Based Accreditation document for state accreditation, 1997. She was named Teacher of the Year in 1991. Beverly was an Associate Professor at Indiana University South Bend, earning Merit Status.


After many years teaching high school students, she embraced a new challenge and earned a doctorate in Educational Management. In 1984, Beverly moved to Toledo, Ohio, with the Sheller-Globe Automotive Corporation and was honored for outstanding leadership in manufacturing statistical process control.  


Beverly Wills enjoyed regaling friends and students with tales of her adventures, climbing the Andes Mountains, riding a camel in Morocco, hiking in a rural area of Columbia where she and her group were attacked by painted Indians with long spears, who frightened them until they realized it was carnival time in Columbia and these were spirited participants. So, Beverly and her group joined the fun! Among her favorite stories was meeting Pele, the famous Brazilian soccer player, and being invited to Pele’s apartment for a party; meeting Cassius Clay and talking politics with him in the airport and holding a baby tiger at a colleague’s private zoo.


After experiencing so much in American education, she wasn’t finished yet and devoted her retirement career to teaching English as a Second Language to the families of Notre Dame’s international scholars. In her second career, she was excited by these students, their sense of humor, their openness to new language and experiences and their courage in reinventing their lives. Beverly herself was a role model to her students as she herself understood what it was like to immerse yourself in a different culture and language and remake your life in a whole new context.


Gathering for Beverly will begin at 1 pm with sharing of memories starting at 2 p.m. – 3 p.m. Friday, September 17, 2021 at Walley-Mills-Zimmerman Funeral Home. 

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Memorial Tree
A Memorial Tree was planted for Beverly

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