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John Mitchell Willis, III passed away on Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at his residence in Rome, Georgia.
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. 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 Eighth Commander of the US Army Medical Field Service School and the First Commander of Brooke Army Medical Center.
John's journalism career spanned over 30 years, which included working with the Rome News Tribune and as editor/publisher for the Calhoun Times. His interests included reading, trivia, and mentoring youth at the First Methodist Church in Rome. He was past president of Rotary and taught Sunday School Classes.
He was preceded in death by his father, Col. John M. Willis, Jr., his grandparents - Mr. and Mrs. Winchester Kelso and Maj.Gen. and Mrs. John M. Willis, and his nephew, Daryl Lee Richey.
He is survived by his mother and stepfather, Joyce and John Lee of San Antonio; his sister Joyce Richey and husband Don of Seguin; his two daughters, Molly Lopez and husband Dan and Jennifer McNeil and husband Mason all of Rome, Georgia; his niece Leanne Boddie and husband Bryce and great-nieces, Endie and Makeda Boddie of Boerne, Texas; his step brothers, John Scott Lee of Marblemount, Washington, Doug Lee and wife Nancy of Chapel Hill, N.C., Timothy Lee of Atlanta, Ga.; nieces, Amanda Edwards and husband Matt of Boston, Massachusetts and Katherine Lee of Raleigh, N.C.; and the mother of his daughters, Carol Willis of Rome, Ga.
A memorial service/celebration of John's life was held Saturday at 2 p.m. at First United Methodist Church, Rome. 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.
Published in Express-News on Dec. 2, 2012