MILWAUKEE - The Milwaukee Journal-Star came upon Scott and Janet Willis this weekend at a local Irish Fest. Several of the Willis' 32 grandchildren were playing at Milwaukee's Irish Fest.
It was 19 years ago this November that six of the Willis' nine children died as their van burst into flames as it was headed north from Chicago to visit their older married children in Watertown, Wisconsin. After the tragic loss led to an investigation of fraudulant driver license distribution in Illinois' Secretary of State office, Governor George Ryan went to prison.
The pastor and his wife now live in Tennessee, where they'll soon be celebrating their 46th wedding anniversary.
The loss of the six Willis children was memorialized with a tune written and performed by family members this weekend. The Journal-Star writes about the Irish Fest performers:
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Called the Willis Clan, their playlist includes a song titled "On the Road to Watertown." It's an instrumental, composed by granddaughter Jennifer Willis and played on the button accordion.
It's a mournful tune. Haunting. Janet said she cried the first time she heard it, before she knew what it was about.