Legendary Hawkeye football quarterback, Wilburn (Wil) Joseph Hollis, 83, Marion, Iowa, passed away January 31, 2024, at Mercy Hospital, Cedar Rapids, IA, with his wife and son at his side.
Cedar Memorial is assisting the family with a private burial, and per Wil’s wishes, no public services will be held.
Wil is survived by his wife, Nadine; son Scott (Lisa) Griffin of Cedar Rapids, daughter-in-law Cathy Griffin of Cedar Rapids, daughters Michele (Bobby) Ferrell, and Dawn (Jeremy) Blake of West Virginia, and several grandchildren and great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his son Steve Griffin.
Wil was born November 12, 1940, in Possum Trot, Mississippi. He lived at Boys Town in Omaha, Nebraska, from age 9 until the completion of high school, where he excelled in all sports and developed his confident and competitive spirit. He was recruited by Coach Forest Evashevski and was the quarterback for the University of Iowa from 1959-1961. Wil was one of the first African Americans to earn All-American honors. He led the Hawkeyes to a Big Ten championship as a junior in 1960 and was named second team All-American that season.
On September 15, 1978, he married Nadine Griffin. Prior to making their home in Marion, they lived in Cedar Rapids and Des Moines. He was the Director of Human Resources for the United Fire Group until his retirement in 2007.
During their 45 years together, Wil and Nadine enjoyed attending Iowa football games, spending time in Arizona with friends, and making many lucky trips to Riverside Casino.
Due to declining health, his last few years were physically challenging, but his deep love for Nadine and a family he was proud of brought him joy.
He was a husband, a father, a friend, and always a Hawk!
Memorial donations may be made to Camp Courageous.