Vernice Hackett Floyd Willis was born on September 21, 1921 to the late Milton and Josephine Floyd. She was the sixth of seven children. At an early age, she was reared by her aunt and uncle, Margaret and Leroy Beckett.

Vernice was a graduate of Mary N. Smith High School and her motto was “Always get an education.” After graduation she furthered her education and began her college career at Elizabeth City State University. While attending college, she met and married the love of her life, Thomas Edward Willis, in 1944. Of this union, the young couple was blessed with three children, Al, Thomas, and Michelle. In 1945, she graduated from college and became a teacher at Savageville Elementary School.

The Floyd and Beckett families faithfully worshipped at Gaskins Chapel AME Church. Vernice confessed her love for Christ and became a member with this assembly. In 2014, she was consecrated to the office of Deaconess by the Virginia Annual Conference within the Second Episcopal District.

Vernice was loved by her church, family, and students.

As a hobby, she enjoyed taking care of flowers in her home and garden. After being blessed for 100 years, her secret to longevity was to eat the right food.

Vernice was predeceased by her husband, Thomas Edward Willis (1919-1983), her youngest son, Thomas Edward Willis II (1952-2010), her daughter, Michelle Willis (1954-1954), 3 brothers, and 3 sisters.

She is survived by her son, Al Willis; daughter/cousin, Ora Satchell; brothers/cousins, Russell Beckett and Delmas Beckett (Cleo); brothers-in-law, Isaac Willis and his wife, Leanna, Charles Willis and his wife, Helen, Andrew Willis and his wife, Shirley; sister-in-laws, Louise Whitley and Dr. Winnie Willis and her husband, Ed Barber; grandson, Mark Sharp; great grand-children, Jamar Upshur, Jr. and Trikina Hunter; 6 great-great grandchildren, and a host of nieces, nephews, and cousins.

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