Willis D. Poland

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Willis D. Poland

August 24, 1927 - June 06, 2018

Will Poland, 90, of Traverse City, passed away peacefully on June 6, 2018. Will was born to Jesse and Alice Poland on Aug. 24, 1927, in Barnes, Kansas, a small country town in the northern part of the state.
After graduating high school Will joined the U.S. Navy and served in the Philippines at the conclusion of World War II.
Upon his return to the states he took advantage of the GI Bill and attended Kansas State University, where he obtained his Bachelor of Science degree in 1950. He went on to obtain his Master of Science degree from Kansas State in 1954 and his Doctorate from The Ohio State University in 1963.
From 1950 to 1960 he also worked as a teacher, student counselor and clinical counselor in both Kansas and Minnesota. Upon obtaining his Doctorate he served as an assistant professor in the department of psychology at the University of Iowa from 1963 to 1969. Will then spent the remainder of his professional career as a professor in the psychology department at the University of Cincinnati until his retirement in 1991. He served as the clinical supervisor and director of training at the psychological services center, where he prepared doctoral candidates for clinical therapy. Additionally, he received intensive post-graduate training in Gestalt therapy and maintained a small private practice.
Will, his wife, Jill Bentgen and daughters, Consuelo and Sara moved to Traverse City in 1994, where he continued to lead a very active life. He was a longtime member of Central United Methodist Church. He had an extensive and fulfilling faith journey. Will studied all aspects of the Christian faith, taught numerous classes and served in several ministries such as Stephen Ministries, The Community Meal, Reconciling Ministries, Faith Link and and the Library Committee. He also pursued his theological studies by taking classes at NMC throughout his retirement.
Will was an avid reader, enjoyed playing golf, watching movies, loved classical and jazz music and caring for his many dalmatians over the years. He also proudly served on the Traverse City Human Rights Commission.
He was a warm and caring person and an exceptional listener. Friends and family would often call upon Will to work through difficult issues during challenging periods of their lives. He cared deeply about the people in his life.
Will is survived by his wife, Jill Bentgen; and daughters, Consuelo Poland and Sara Poland. He is also survived by his daughter, Debra Holthus (Jim), and his son, Paul Poland (Pam), from his first marriage to Mildred Poland. He is also survived by five grandchildren, Josh Holthus (Katey), Ben Holthus (Brynn), Sarah Seifert (Chris), Eric Poland and Elliana Jean; and four great-grandchildren. He is survived by his sister, Laura Weyand; and brother, Harold Poland.
He was a wonderful husband, father and friend. He will be missed by the many lives he touched.
Will was preceded in death by his parents; his brother, Melvin Poland; and sister, Helen Knedlik.
A memorial service for Will, will take place at 3:30 p.m., with a visitation for family and friends beginning at 1:30 p.m., on Saturday, June 16, 2018 at Central United Methodist Church. A luncheon will be held in the church fellowship hall immediately following the service.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial contributions be directed to Justice For Our Neighbors, 222 Cass St., Traverse City, MI 49684; Central United Methodist Church Library, 222 N. Cass St., Traverse City, MI 49684; or Manhattan Christian College, 1415 Anderson Ave., Manhattan, KS 66502.
Please share a memory with the family by visiting Will's tribute page at www.reynolds-jonkhoff.com.
The Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home and Cremation Services is serving the family.
Published on June 10, 2018
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