Denise Marie McKenna Wills

April 11, 1964 — December 30, 2021

Denise Marie McKenna Wills

Denise Marie (McKenna) Wills, 57, of Dawson, GA, passed away at home on Tuesday, December 30, 2021 with her loving husband Gus Sammy Wills at her side. Graveside funeral services will be conducted Tuesday, January 4, 2022 at 11:00 a.m. at Parrott City Cemetery. Parrott, GA. Rev. Charles Jones will officiate.


Denise (Neisy) was born on April 11, 1964 in Vincennes, Indiana where she was the youngest of seven children. Her family relocated back to the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area in 1967 when Denise was three years old. Throughout her childhood, her family moved several times. Denise naturally and easily made strong friendships in each new place; Desiree, Darla, Stacy, and so many more. She was loyal and committed to her friends and always stood by them and her friends always showed her the same devotion. Her family settled in Scott Township, PA where Denise went to Chartiers Valley High School. After high school, she attended Point Park University in Pittsburgh, PA where she majored in Engineering. She worked while going to college at The Pitt Manufacturing in Carnegie, PA and then as an environmental technician performing asbestos abatement at Schneider Engineering in Scott Township, PA. She worked hard and, as her friends and family would testify, loved even harder. She enjoyed several vacations in California, seeing the sky-touching Redwood trees and in Cancun with her sister and high school friends and recalled their time in the woods and on the beaches in the sun as some of her most favorite memories.

Denise relocated to Southwest Georgia in 1995, living in Americus, Leesburg, Oakfield and eventually settling in Dawson, Georgia. She was employed with the Dougherty County School System as Environmental Coordinator where she went above and beyond her normal job duties helping co-workers, school office employees and staff any way she could, developing many great friendships with Carin, William & Denise, Henry and others along the way. This was no surprise, as Denise always had a smile on her face and looked forward to new adventures and accomplishments. She also assisted many South Georgia School Systems, performing the mandatory Three-Year Asbestos Inspections for them. Denise met her future husband Sammy in 2010 while they were both working on a job together and they were married on February 22, 2012. Denise loved animals and had such a kind heart, she would care for the neighborhood dogs, “Scruffy” and “Bully”, as she called them, taking them to the vet and getting them to the groomers when needed. Her puppy ‘Dinkum (Dinky)’ was her cherished baby, who went beyond the Rainbow Bridge in 2019, and she loved her precious Maltipoo ‘Stumpy’ with all her heart. Denise knew her own mind and she bravely lived her life the way she wanted to. She was independent and self-reliant and cherished her friends and family that enriched her life in Dawson, GA.

Denise was preceded in death by her parents, Chancey McKenna and Alice E. Lee (Reaney), her brothers Brian of Carnegie, PA and James of Vallejo, CA, and her sister Linda (Nina) Climer of Turlock, CA. Survivors include her brother David of Dayton Beach, FL, her sisters Debra M. (Patrick) McHugh of Oakdale, PA and Barbara G. McKenna of Carnegie, PA. Denise dearly loved several nieces and nephews that have missed her since she moved away but are comforted by all the wonderful memories they have of Aunt Neisy at birthdays, weddings, and the holidays they had together.

It is hard to take the measure of a person who has meant so much to so many people. All those she always had a kind word for, the people she gladly helped and went to bat for, and the family and friends she was fiercely devoted to can all tell you stories of how kind, funny, caring, and effortlessly thoughtful she was. She was truly one of a kind, and she will always be sadly missed.

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