John Mitchell Willis III
October 25, 1949 – November 27, 2012
John Mitchell Willis, III passed away on Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at his residence.
He was born October 25, 1949 in Osaka, Japan to Colonel and Mrs. John M. Willis, Jr. As a child in an Army family, John lived in many places—Japan, Georgia, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Texas. He graduated from the San Antonio Academy, Texas Military Institute, and Virginia Military Institute. At VMI John was on the staff of “The Cadet” (newspaper). He graduated in 1971 with a degree in history and served as Class Agent from 1971-76. John’s father also graduated from VMI in 1936 and served as a Medical Doctor in the Army Medical Corps. His grandfather, Major General John M. Willis, was the 8th Commander of the US Army Medical Field Service School and the 1st Commander of Brooke Army Medical Center. John’s journalism career began at the Worcester County Messenger in Snow Hill, Maryland where he was sports editor and staff reporter. He was the Director of Communications at Anderson College (SC). Moving to Rome in 1985, John became the managing editor of the Coosa Valley View and began a 23 year career with the News Publishing Company in numerous roles with the Rome News Tribune and as editor/publisher for the Calhoun Times. Most recently he has written a Saturday column and served as editorial page editor for the Rome News-Tribune.
John’s interests were numerous—reading, trivia, missions, and mentoring youth. For 12 years he was a volunteer leader for Rome’s First United Methodist youth group. He was the president of the Calhoun Rotary Club and a graduate of Leadership Rome. He taught Sunday School classes at both Rome’s First United Methodist Church (New Beginnings and Theos) and Calhoun’s First United Methodist Church (Jack Lance Bible Class).
He was preceded in death by his father, Dr. John M. Willis, Jr., his grandparents – Mr. and Mrs. Winchester Kelso and Dr. and Mrs. John M. Willis, and his nephew, Daryl Lee Richey.
He is survived by two daughters, Molly Lopez (Dan) and Jennifer McNeil (Mason) both of Rome; his mother and stepfather, Joyce and John Lee of San Antonio, Texas; his sister Joyce W. Richey (Don) of Seguin, Texas; his niece Leanne R. Boddie (Bryce) and great nieces, Endie and Makeda Boddie all of Boerne, Texas; his step brothers, John Scott Lee of Marblemount, Washington, Doug Lee (Nancy) of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Timothy Lee of Atlanta, Georgia; great nieces, Amanda Edwards (Matt) of Boston, Massachusetts and Katherine Lee of Raleigh, North Carolina; and the mother of his daughters, Carol Willis of Rome.
There will be visitation Friday from 6 p.m.- 8:30 p.m. in the Wilder Center of First United Methodist Church (Rome). A memorial service/celebration of John’s life will be held Saturday at 2 p.m. in the sanctuary at First United Methodist Church.
In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to First United Methodist, 202 East Third Avenue, Rome 30161 or The VMI Foundation, P. O. Box 932, Lexington, VA. 24450.
- Visitation Friday, November 30, 2012
- Memorial Service Saturday, December 1, 2012
John Mitchell Willis III
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January 1, 2013
I LOVE YOU JOHN I JUST FOUND OUT YESTERDAY YOU WERE NO LONGER HERE I KNOW YOU ARE WITH GOD NOW! BUT THANK YOU FOR THE TIME YOU GAVE TO ME. LOVE TERESA.
December 1, 2012
John was a very supportive friend for many years at Anderson College. He and I shared a love of basketball and we had good times talking sports. John was very kind and always a gentleman. I was blessed to have known John. My thoughts and prayers to all his family. Frankie Porter
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