Willis Bell Korff
Gone to Heaven 2/18/2012
Born 10/3/1923 to John and Myrtle Korff, Willis grew up in Lincoln California with his brother John (Jack) and sisters Clara and Winifred (Ginger and Winnie). After High School, Willis began studying for a career as a Forest Ranger, but he would leave that dream behind, without hesitation, to enlist in the Marine Corps when WWII began. He endured four perilous years in the Pacific Theatre aboard the USS Enterprise aircraft carrier where his responsibilities were anti-aircraft gunner and ship barber.
Upon return from his military service, Willis settled in Ballard Washington where he married and started a family. He also became a businessman when he opened a barber shop and started up his fishing tackle business. He went on to invent and manufacture various fishing lures, including the innovative Cherry Bobber which became a game-changer for steelhead fishing. According to Sports Illustrated, 3/11/1957, the Cherry Bobber “set off today’s stampede to the Steelhead streams.”
The love of fishing was always a compelling force in Willis, one which led him to relocate to British Columbia in 1966 for the second chapter of his life. He would homestead in the Kispiox Valley near Hazelton, fishing and hunting and embracing nature every way he knew how. He built a home and became a Canadian citizen. As the years went by, he became a loved and respected elder in the community, and he was always an honoured Veteran on Remembrance Day.
Willis was interred in the Glen Vowell cemetery near his home, surrounded by dear friends and his children. He is survived by his son Kelley Korff, daughter Lindy (Korff) Deer, his sisters Clara Taylor and Jimelle Susanne and his brother Richard Korff. Grandchildren are Robert, Mathew and Joseph Deer, and Leslie (Korff) Stockton. Great grandchildren include Jessi, Jodi, Gavin, Taylor, Hayden, Camryn, Mariah and Courtney.
Will’s children would like to express gratitude to the loyal friends and neighbors who looked after Dad in his later years and provided faithful companionship to him while he lived at Wrinch Memorial.
Lastly, we would like to say thank you to the First Nations Glen Vowell Band for allowing Dad’s burial wish to become reality, for working so tirelessly on that cold winter day, and for extending such kindness to us during our visit. Dad is surely resting peacefully on that gentle hill overlooking the Skeena.