Brown-Wynne Funeral Home

1701 East Millbrook Road, Raleigh, NC


Richard Michael Willett

May 2, 1945December 24, 2016

Michael Willett, 71, died December 24, 2016. He was born in Louisville, KY on May 2, 1945 to Richard Wilburn Willett and Joella Hall Willett, both deceased. He is a member of Saint Andrews Presbyterian Church in Raleigh.

He is survived by his wife, Shirley Saleeby Willett; sons, Nathan (Jill) and Evan (Katie) Willett; grandchildren, Smith, June, Connor, and Eleanor Willett; siblings, Donna Willett, Janet Varon (Steve Lazar), Brent Willett (Jill), Cheryl Harrington, and Terri Craig. He also leaves behind numerous nieces and nephews and many friends.

Michael graduated from the United States Air Force Academy and earned a Masters and PhD in Mathematics from North Carolina State University. He had a distinguished career as a professor at UNC Greensboro, IBM, and numerous technology companies. He loved the outdoors and was an avid hiker, camper, skier, golfer, and kayaker.

A graveside service will be held Friday, December 30, 12:00pm at Raleigh Memorial Park, 7501 Glenwood Avenue, Raleigh, NC 27612. A celebration of his life will follow at 2:00pm at Saint Andrews Presbyterian Church, 7506 Falls Of Neuse Road, Raleigh, NC 27615.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be sent to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (http://www.jdrf.org/donate/) or Saint Andrews Presbyterian Church (http://saintandrewsraleigh.weebly.com/give.html)

Condolences may be sent through: www.brownwynne.com


  • Graveside Service Friday, December 30, 2016
  • Memorial Service Friday, December 30, 2016


Richard Michael Willett

have a memory or condolence to add?

Steve Hanna

January 17, 2017

I was honored to work with Michael for a decade in the Trusted Computing Group. His generosity and kindness were well matched with his wit and wisdom.

What a blessing he was for everyone that he met!

January 7, 2017

Shirley, I was so sorry to read Michael's obituary. It was a wonderful service. He had a wonderful sense of humor. I worked with you and Michael years ago. My favorite memory of Michael was the time that he brought a beautiful cake to the buffet we had planned for some holiday get-together at work. He walked in, complaining about staying up all night baking it - most of the other guys, of course, brought stuff in their wives had made. It got real quiet for a short time while the other guys tried to figure out if he was serious - I figured that he had baked it since I knew he did the cooking.
I haven't seen you for a long time - lost track after you moved to Raleigh and I moved around at work. I've lost some mobility - lots of replacements (knees, hips,...) - slows me down but otherwise I'm fine. Getting older is not for sissies.
Jan Allen

Marty Foltyn

January 6, 2017

As a dear colleague of Michael at the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA), please know that his wisdom, teaching, camaraderie, and spirit will be greatly missed by his many friends. Michael contributed to the development of SNIA standards and tutorials, and his conference sessions were always packed to the rafters with eager learners. Our loss is great, and thoughts and prayers go out to your family in this difficult time.

Marty Foltyn
SNIA Business Development Representative

Phyllis Parker

January 1, 2017

Dear Shirley, Nathan, and Evan,
I am so sorry to learn of Michael's death. I taught both you boys in 5th grade at Hunter and have such warm, wonderful memories of time spent with you. (Nathan's geothermal "explosion" and OM competitions with both of you) What a fun family and how supportive and helpful Michael and Shirley both were --- I still treasure a little music box (china bird) that you gave me one Christmas. Prayers and love are with you at this time. Phyllis Parker

Betty Eidenier

January 1, 2017

Shirley, Nancye Bryan sent me word of Michael's death. What a beautifully written obituary that in every line brings along a parallel thought of how loving your family is. May you have this peace and strength to support you all your days.

Jan & Terry Timmermans

January 1, 2017

We are so very sorry to hear about your loss, Shirley. Michael will be missed by all. He was kind, had a wonderful sense of humor and we were honored to know him. We will keep you and your family in our prayers.


Terry, Jan, Ryan & Daniel Timmermans

Joseph Chen

December 31, 2016

Dear Shirley and family, it is very sad for the loss of a kind and energetic person. I pray that God will comfort you and your family. Michal is one of my dear friend and I will always remember him in my life. I am sure his highly positive spirit will encourage all of the people around him.
Sincerely Michael's Dear Friend,
Joseph Chen

December 31, 2016

"Dear Shirley and family, I am sorry for your loss of Michael! I'm glad I had the pleasure of meeting him. May the LORD watch over all.
Classmate Bobby R. Parker

December 31, 2016

Dear Shirley,

I am so sorry for your loss. Peace be with you.

Janet Bottoms

December 30, 2016

Dear Shirley and Family,

It pains me so much to think of the loss of your dear husband,father and grandfather. I regret that I was unable to be there during your time of grievance, but I want you to know that all of you are in my heart during this sad time I love you all.
With Love,
David Saleeba