Elward Stanley Willis, born March 4, 1925, died at the age of 92 on December 22, 2017 at Lane Regional Medical Center in Zachary, LA. He is survived by: his children Nancy Irene Willis Deason (Edward Harold) of Birmingham, AL, Ellen Coretta Willis Douglas (Carl L. “Mel”) of Slaughter, LA, and Stanley Truesdale Willis of Birmingham, AL; grandchildren Ellen Claire Douglas McCrary, Katherine Lynn Deason Burgess (Charles G.), Rebecca Jean Douglas Balestrini (Santiago) and Anna Marie Deason; great grandchildren Mary Ellen McCrary, Preston Blake McCrary, Katherine Elizabeth McCrary, Benton Blake McCrary; and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins. He is also survived by two sisters Helen Clyde Willis Carter and Alicia Celia Willis Leach. He was predeceased by: his wife of 68 years, Emma Jean Truesdale Willis; parents Floyd and Nancy Alma Coughlan Willis; sisters Thelma Donnell Willis Mudge, Katie Verle Willis Simpson, Mary Sue Willis Wingo, Frances Charlene Willis Hyde, Elizabeth Willis Eason, Alicia Ann Willis Quinn; and brother Elliot Eugene Willis.
“Willis” had the privilege of being reared in a large gregarious family where he was the only surviving son surrounded by eight equally smart and witty sisters. They lived on a family farm and graduated from Noxapater High School (MS) before entering college. His schooling was interrupted by his military service.
He served with the 86th Division during World War II and saw action in the European and Pacific theaters. He was a veteran of the Korean Conflict.
He received an associates degree from East Central Junior College (ECJC) in Decatur, MS. He and his bride, Emma Jean, whom he met at ECJC, moved to Starkville, MS, where in 1949 he earned a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from Mississippi State University. He worked in this field until the age of 82 concentrating in the petrochemical industry. Highlights of his career were with his employment at Mississippi Chemical Corp. (Yazoo City, MS), Rust Engineering (Birmingham, AL), Michael Baker (Jackson, MS), and Ford Bacon and Davis (Monroe, LA).
He and Emma Jean shared the enjoyment of many activities including fishing, gardening, and bridge. He was fond of reading, lived a healthy lifestyle, thrived on problem solving, and had an infectious sense of humor. He was a dedicated and active member of several Baptist and Presbyterian Churches where he taught adult Sunday School classes and served as Elder. At his death, he was a member of Plains Presbyterian Church, PCA, Zachary, LA. Even into his old age, he surprised people quoting poetry and hymns, telling tales, and solving crossword puzzles in record time. He cared for his wife faithfully and lovingly during her final years.
Visitation will be at Charlet Funeral Home, 4230 High Street, Zachary, LA, on December 27, 2017, from 5:00 - 8:00 PM. Funeral services will be held December 28, 2017, 12:00 NOON at Forest Grove Presbyterian Church, 2252 Forest Grove Road Carthage, MS 39051-8332. Burial will be in the adjoining church cemetery.