A site dedicated to the life of Gerald (Gerry) Edwin Willis (27th March 1940 - 20th March 2018) and all the creative endeavours he showed us through an incredible journey while on this earth. A musician, artist and a man of many other talents - Gerry's Spot showcases some music, art and other information online for all to enjoy - ironic really, for a man who openly said he never knew how to even turn a computer on!
The below was taken from his eulogy given during his memorial service on March 27th, 2018 - which would have been his 78th birthday:
Gerry Willis was born in the Riverina region in Henty, NSW on 27th March, 1940. He grew up on his parent’s property in Wood End, where he attended the nearby public school and for high school, Gerry attended Albury Grammar School. Gerry left school and went back to working on the family farm while at the same time developing a love of music - particularly teaching himself how to play the guitar and joining bands and pursuing gigs in the local region.
In his early 20’s he married his first wife - Robyn and they moved to Sydney to pursue their music career together. They were blessed with three children - Shannon, Todd and Shay and it was at this time he had an array of different jobs as a welder, mechanic and salesman but always continuing to go after his music career. One of the most notable events was in 1965 with the formation of his band Timbuck Two with close friend - John French. They played together as the much loved duo for over 25 years. You can hear much of their music here.
In 1974, during his time in Sydney, Gerry met his second wife Christine and they married 2 years later. As newlyweds, they decided to travel Australia, but after a short stint in North Queensland they headed back down to Gerry’s hometown of Yerong Creek where they decided to stay as Christine was 7 months pregnant with their first child, Dale. Soon after, they bought and operated the local Golden Fleece roadhouse and motel in the town, and eventually they renovated the roadhouse into their home and the motel into Gerry’s new venture Bunkhouse Gallery, here they lived after having four more children - daughters Holly, Lucy, Geraldine and Ebony.
At the age of 30, Gerry taught himself to paint and he became a full-time artist with the launch of the Bunkhouse Gallery in March 1983. You can see some of his artworks here. There he held many one-man exhibitions and over a fourteen year period he sold over 1600 paintings, including his very successful 'Dan Morgan' and 'Droving' series. He was frequently commissioned to paint portraits, hotels, homesteads, farm scenes, horse and bullock teams and many other artworks of the Australian landscape. Many say his greatest masterpiece was the Panorama Farm, a circular mural 3 metres high and 24 metres in circumference, depicting an early Australian farm scene. It combined real portions of sheds, fences etc with the mural painting to create an amazing illusion of realism and was a well known tourist attraction. It was opened by the leader at the time of the National Party of Australia Tim Fischer.
In 1997, seeking a change of scenery, Gerry and the family moved to North Brisbane and then Glasshouse Mountains in Queensland where he continued to paint and play music at their church until they bought their property near Kyogle in Northern NSW in 2003 and began building their home. Over the last 13 years of his life, Gerry left his final creative touches on this property from his country style kitchen cupboards to his steel columns painted to look like timber and the many paintings he created of the incredible view they enjoyed there.
In the final years, Gerry was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease but with the help of his wife Christine, was able to remain living in this home until a few months before his death, when he moved into full-time care at the nursing home.
Although the Alzheimer’s did take a hold of him, he still had a vibrant spirit, a deep love for his family and he always carried his guitar and mouth organ around the nursing home, playing music till the end.
RIP Gerry - Always missed, never forgotten.
We'd like to dedicate this tribute to the newest member of the family - Rai. Where the painful void exists, we hope the rich memories contained on this website goes some way towards filling a part of that void. xo