Deeply Moving Memoir by Late Author Explores the Profound Lives of His Ancestors and Their Mark on American History

After author T Joe Willey’s passing, his wife completes the publication of his compelling book, ‘Heaven is a Long Way to Go’

COLTON, Calif., Dec. 14, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Hidden within the past are incredible stories that reveal why family remains the strongest bond in our lives. After six years of extensive research, interviews and travels, author T Joe Willey compiled findings about his own family’s role pioneering and homesteading during the 1800’s for his memoir, “Heaven is a Long Way to Go.” After writing the last few chapters while on hospice, Willey tragically passed away in 2019. His loving wife, Barbara, finished the book’s publication in his honor, fulfilling his hope that his story, filled with its joys and tragedies, would connect with those seeking to discover their own ancestry.


Readers are introduced to four generations before him that each exhibited remarkable strength and ambition through every challenge and tribulation life put in their path. Willey details their emigration to America from Norway to make their home in the Midwest on land obtained from the Federal Homestead Act of 1862. Sharing their victories and miseries, they encounter great economic struggles, locust plagues, blizzards, prairie fires, great loss and illness. However, their faith remained steadfast as they grew closer to Seventh-Day Adventism and the belief in the Second Coming of Christ. Discovery of their church becomes an integral part of the story and shows how it so heavily defined their lives and shaped their family.


Creating moments of reflection that showcase how important our past is, Willey’s investigations into the impact of homesteading, immigration and family bonds create a captivating reading experience for those interested in American history. Readers will be particularly interested in his reflections regarding the tragedies and loss his family, like many, faced and overcame.


“This book is a saga of a ‘thousand lives’ that have joys, losses and high emotions that teach us to gather our supports and strengths so we can grow from them,” says Barbara about her husband’s memoir.


“Heaven is a Long Way to Go” is a fascinating and intimate look at a true American family to see how their beliefs structured their lives under the difficult conditions of pioneering and homesteading.


“Heaven is a Long Way to Go”

By T Joe Willey

ISBN: 9781728373348 (softcover); 9781728373331 (hardcover); 9781728373324 (electronic)

Available at the AuthorHouse Online Bookstore, Amazon and Barnes & Noble


About the author

T Joe Willey was an accomplished scientist and writer. He received his Ph.D. in neuroscience from the University of California at Berkeley. He then taught and conducted research on the brain at Loma Linda University School of Medicine, with additional research being conducted at the Brain Institute at UCLA. He spent one year with Sir John Eccles of Oxford, the Nobel Prize winner, and published 42 peer-reviewed scientific articles. He was the president of The Aegis Group, a publishing and consulting firm devoted to the business of professional employer organizations (PEOs). Studying 2000 books and other sources, he gathered the information and stories to write “Heaven is a Long Way To Go.” His loving wife Barbara Orr, M.D., a primary care physician for 40 years and medical instructor, promised to complete publication of the book before his death in April 2019. She resides in Colton, California. 

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