Navy veteran who held yard sales to pay for own funeral dies

Willie Davis, 66, gained national attention after he started to hold yard sales to pay for his funeral following a cancer diagnosis. Davis died Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2018. (Craig Hacker for The Washington Post via Getty Images)

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. — A Navy veteran who gained national attention earlier this year for holding garage sales to fund the cost of his funeral has died, according to multiple reports.

Willie Davis, 66, died Wednesday of cancer, according to the website for the Picking-Treece-Bennett Mortuary. He had been diagnosed earlier this year with Stage 4 skin cancer and held garage sales to raise money for his funeral, The Tribune-Democrat reported.

The newspaper reported that Davis hoped to be buried in Culpepper, Virginia, next to his parents.

His story gained national attention after his yard sale was visited by a pair of men who went on to start a GoFundMe campaign for the veteran. Nearly 2,000 people donated to the campaign for a total of $65,000, far above the amount needed for Davis’ funeral.

Davis, who served in the Navy from 1970 to 1976, told WJAC-TV that he planned to use the extra funds to help other veterans.

“Other people will benefit from my death, my GoFundMe,” Davis told the news station in September. “It does provide some comfort for me.”

Davis is survived by four sisters, according to the Picking-Treece-Bennett Mortuary.

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