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William H. Willis, Jr., 86, Longtime Greenwich Resident

William H. Willis, Jr.
William H. Willis, Jr. Photo Credit: The Daily Voice/Contributed

GREENWICH, Conn. - William H. Willis, Jr., a longtime resident of Greenwich, died Sunday, May 11. He was 86.

Willis was born Dec. 19, 1927, in Harrisburg, Pa., he was the son of William H. Willis and Elizabeth Keferstein Willis. He graduated from St. Paul's School, Concord, New Hampshire in 1945 and from Yale University, class of 1949. He sang with the St. Paul's School Choir, the Yale Glee Club, the Yale University Glee Club of New York, the National Collegiate Chorale in Washington, D.C., and, more recently, the Yale Alumni Chorus. From 1950 to 52, he served in the 301st Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Unit of the U.S. Army in Fort Riley, Kansas and with the Psychological Warfare Unit in Heidelberg, Germany at the time of the partition of the war countries under the U.S. High Commissioner. He and Gates Davison led a scientific expedition to Madagascar for the American Museum of Natural History in 1953.

He founded William Willis Worldwide with offices in New York and Greenwich. He was the founding chairman of the World Search Group. Early in his career, he was in industry with AMF and Owens Corning Fiberglas.

Active in civic and community service, for 18 years Willis was National treasurer and a director of Girls, Incorporated (formerly Girls Clubs of America) and also served on the Human Resources Committee of the YMCA of Greater New York. Other civic commitments included the Capital Campaign for Yale, the Greenwich Health Association, and the Greenwich Hospital Association. He was a communicant of St. Barnabas Church of Greenwich for 50 years.

Willis is survived by his wife, Pauline; daughter, Wendell Willis Livingston (Tom) of Rowayton; sons, Christopher H. Willis (Cindy) of New Canaan and Gregory T. Willis (Lois) of Darien; seven grandchildren; and three nieces and their families. He was predeceased by his sister, Elizabeth Willis Reid; and brother, L. Clayton Willis.

Calling hours are at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, May 20 at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church, 954 Lake Avenue, Greenwich.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to either to Girls Club, Inc. or to the Yale Alumni Chorus Foundation .

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