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Commissioners issue proclamation memorializing Doug Wills

| May 14, 2024
The Tuscarawas Agricultural Society shared this photo of late board member Doug Wills on the group's Facebook page. (Tuscarawas County Fair - Agricultural Society)

NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) (May 14, 2024) – Tuscarawas County leaders are continuing to pay tribute to the man they describe as “a beacon of integrity, compassion, and service to others.”

That’s what the county’s three commissioners said about Doug Wills in a proclamation honoring his memory that acting clerk Crystal DiGenova read aloud during Monday’s board meeting.

“The Board of Commissioners of Tuscarawas County, Ohio, extends our most heartfelt sympathies to the family and many friends on the loss of Doug Wills, and we express our profound and deep appreciation to our friend, Doug Wills, whose life was rooted in kindness and service to others.” 

The longtime county Republican Party chairman, fair board member, and Dover Buehler’s store manager passed away unexpectedly at his home on May 5th at age 72. 

“Doug Wills loved all things ‘Tuscarawas County’, but his truest love was for his high school sweetheart and wife of 43 years, Barbara.”

Commissioner Greg Ress went to calling hours for Wills, who had recently been named vice-chair of the Ohio Republican Party.

“Just to tell you how big he was in the Republican Party, Gov. DeWine came all the way from Columbus. A lot of state figures, political figures, [Ohio] Supreme Court justices were there, so Doug obviously contributed a lot to the Republican Party over the years.”

Democratic Commissioner Chris Abbuhl talked about how Wills’ impact transcended party lines.

“He did give a lot back to Tuscarawas County and certainly, we want to give condolences to his wife. I would have gone to the funeral had I not been out of town so I’m sorry I missed that, but I know Doug was well-respected on both sides of the aisle.” 

Wills was also involved with the Dover Rotary and served on the county elections board where he “exemplified his unwavering dedication to public service and election integrity.”

The commissioners signed the proclamation last week and presented it to the funeral home to display during services.

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