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Friends, colleagues, and admirers mourn passing of Doug Wills

| May 6, 2024

NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) (May 6, 2023) – A longtime political, farming, and business leader is being remembered for his unparalleled dedication to the community following his death over the weekend.

Doug Wills passed away unexpectedly early Sunday at his home on Stonecreek Rd SW at the age of 72.

Wills had served as chair of the Tuscarawas County Republican Party the past 30 years. He was a member of the Tuscarawas County Board of Elections and just at the end of April was elected vice chairman of the Ohio Republican Party. Wills was also involved with the Tuscarawas County Fair Board, the Dover Rotary, and much more.

Ohio Lt. Governor Jon Husted told WJER on Sunday that he was very saddened by the loss.  Husted described Wills as a great county chairman and someone he could rely on to know what was going on in this part of the state.

“When I learned this morning that Doug Wills had passed away, it really hit me hard because he was a very good man,” said Husted. “He was the best.”

31st District Ohio State Senator Al Landis on Sunday said he was still trying to process the news.

“It was just absolutely stunning to the community in so many different ways. There’s so much you can say about Doug because there was so much about Doug. He was doing so much in our community,” said Landis.

Wills is survived by his wife of 43 years, Barb. New Philadelphia Mayor Joel Day says his heart breaks for her.

“All the accomplishments Doug had in his life, to me, were because of the support and encouragement he received from Barb,” Day said.

Tuscarawas County Commissioner Greg Ress called Wills a “hard worker.”

“Being a manager at Dover Buehler’s all those years and all the people and the lives he touched over there. He was very important,” said Ress. “The guy was an extremely busy man. He’s going to be missed, that’s for sure.”

Dover Mayor Shane Gunnoe says Wills was someone he looked up to, ever since he first ran for city council.

“For me, personally, it’s devastating,” said Gunnoe. “I always considered Doug a friend but also a mentor. I was privileged I would say to receive his advice and friendship and support along the way over the last 20 years.”

A funeral has been set for 11 a.m. this Friday at Jerusalem Church in New Philadelphia. Calling hours will be from 2-4 and 6-8 p.m. on Thursday at the Linn-Hert-Geib Funeral Home in New Philadelphia, and one hour prior to services Friday at the church.

Contributions in his memory can be made to the Douglas Wills Junior Fair Scholarship c/o the Tuscarawas County 4H Committee, 419 16th Street SW, New Philadelphia, OH 44663, or to the Greater Dover-New Philadelphia Food Pantry, 420 W. Third Street, Dover, OH 44622.

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