Lt. Col. Shane Dale Willis

Aug 24, 2013

“1975 – 2013”

LTC Shane Dale Willis, 37, passed away on Sunday, Aug. 18, 2013 in Stuttgart, Germany.

A native of Haywood County, he was a son of Cindy Rymer Wilson and her husband, Rick, of Candler and the late Michael Dale Willis.  He entered into the United States Army Reserve in 1996 as a rifleman assigned to Company A 390 First Battalion in Asheville.

Upon earning his bachelor’s degree from Western Carolina University, he was commanded in the United States Army as a 2nd Lieutenant of infantry and then assigned to 1st Battalion 4th Infantry Regiment in Hohemsels, Germany. Shane served in active duty as a rifle platoon leader, scout platoon leader and assistant operations officer.  While assigned to the 4th Infantry in 2005, following a break in service, he returned to active duty as an Army Reserve Officer assigned at Headquarters Special Operations command Europe (SOCEUR) in Stuttgart, Germany.  While at SOCEUR for over a five-year period, he served as the Joint Operations Center Battle Watch Captain and Operations Officer with the Operations Directorate, Logistics Plans Officer in Logistics Directorate and Support Plans Officer in the Headquarters Commandant Directorate.

In 2007, Shane was reassigned as an executive officer with Headquarters Special Operations Command Africa (SOCAF) in Stuttgart, Germany.  In 2012, he returned to active duty at Headquarters United States European Command (USEUCOM) in Stuttgart Germany. While at USEUCOM, Shane served as a Joint Operations Center Watch Officer within the Logistics Dictorate.  When not mobilized to active duty, he was employed at SOCAF as a training officer and Deputy Commander within the Headquarters Commandate.

He is a graduate of the United States Army Command and General Staff College, the Infantry Basic, and Logistics Advanced Courses, the Scout Platoon Leaders Course, and the Bradley Fighting Vehicle Commanders Course.  His awards and decorations include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Army Commendation Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Expert Infantryman Badge, the Parachutist Badge, and Ranger Tab.  Shane’s civilian education includes a BSBA from Western Carolina University and he was working toward completing his MBA from Colorado State University.  He graduated from Pisgah High School in 1993.


In addition to his mother and step-father, he is survived by his wife, Tanja Mueller Willis; one daughter, Kyla Willis; one son, Colin Willis; a sister, Mandy Early and her husband, Luke, of Canton; a brother, T.J. Amos (Terry Dean) of Canton; maternal grandmother, Joan Rymer of Canton; maternal grandfather, W.G. Rymer of Canton; paternal grandparents, Paul and Evelyn Willis of Canton; father and mother-in-law, Wolfgang and Ingrid Mueller of Germany; two sisters-in-law, Petra Scheider and her husband, Wolfgang, and Cornelia Rieff and her husband Sasha, all of Germany; four nephews Levi Michael and Kamdon Lucas Early of Canton, Phillip and Ferdinand of Germany; three aunts, Vickie Willis, Debbie Stamey, and Donna Rymer, all of Canton; cousins, Sherri Garland and her husband, Larry, Calem, Kailee, and Tracy Willis, all of Canton.


A funeral service will be held at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013 at Canton First Baptist Church with the Revs. James A. Meadows and  Stephen W. Miller officiating. Military honors will be conducted by the United States Army. The family will receive friends from  noon until 2:45 p.m. prior to the service.

Memorials may be made to the National Association for Down Syndrome, P.O. Box 206 Wilmette, IL 60091 or to Fisher House Foundation, Inc. Hero Miles, 111 Rockville Pike, Suite 420 Rockville, MD 20850-5168.

For those who desire, an online memorial register is available at “Obituaries” at