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Brian S. Willett


1939 - 2018 Obituary Condolences Gallery
Brian S. Willett Obituary
BRIAN S. WILLETT 1939 - 2018
NORWICH - Among the legions of diehard Boston Red Sox fans, Brian Willett stood out.
During the marathon Game 3 of the World Series, he outlasted his kids and grandkids, watching the entire 18 inning, seven hour and 20 minute game from his hospital bed. He was proud of that feat, if not the outcome of the game.
The former sportswriter hung on long enough for the Red Sox to win another World Series, ending a richly fulfilling life on a high note -- and with a dresser drawer full of Red Sox gear.
Brian Samuel Willett, devoted husband, father, grandparent and new great grandparent, died Monday, November 5, 2018, in Norwich, Conn. He was 78.
Willett was born Dec. 1, 1939, in Bangor, Maine, to Madeleine Wright and John Willett. He graduated from Brewer High School in 1958 and Becker College in 1961. He married Louise Dowling in February 1963 and they honeymooned for one night in New Haven, Connecticut, before he reported for National Guard duty.
Willett spent the first part of his career at the Norwich Bulletin, where he was a sports columnist and editor and helped start the Groton News. A former high school coach and friend jokingly called him "poison pen.'
He was fortunate to cover major sporting events including the World Series and would always bring back souvenirs for his three daughters. Two of the three became sports fanatics like their dad, one a rabid Red Sox fan, the other a Red Sox fan turned Los Angeles Dodgers fan. (The third shared his love of college basketball.)
Willett moved to the circulation side of the newspaper business from the newsroom, working in circulation for the Norwich Bulletin and helping launch USA Today in southeastern Connecticut.
He switched careers in 1988, joining the U.S. Postal Service as a letter carrier. He was the kind of mailman who didn't just drop the mail in the mail box and move on to the next stop. He made friends on his routes.
Willett will be best remembered, though, as one of the most thoughtful people on the planet. He was genuinely interested in everyone's lives and was an everyday presence in the lives of his children and grandchildren spread across the country. He always made sure his wife had flowers or a gift on her birthday and other special occasions even when he was in a rehabilitation center. He wanted to know every detail of every grandkid's sporting events and other school activities and took every opportunity to praise his daughters.
Always a newspaper subscriber, he regularly clipped articles of interest, scribbled a note on them, and asked his wife to send them. Those are now keepsakes.
A few months ago, he joined the family group text. He was a regular participant as recently as two weeks ago, wowing everyone with his sports knowledge, witty comebacks and, yes, slew of typos. He fell in love with Facetime, too, and you never knew when he was going to call to chat. If he didn't reach one family member, he went down the list until he reached someone. And the guy who couldn't figure out how to turn up the volume on the iPad was even game to Snapchat with his grandkids.
He was the best Beeps/Bampy on the planet.
Willett is survived by his wife, Louise; daughters, Dawn, Susan and Robin (Eric); grandchildren Marissa, Kendall, Zac, Jack, Jamie and Piper and great grandson Callen Christopher; English bulldog Luke; numerous nieces and nephews and friends from coast to coast.
Brian was predeceased by his brother John Willett.
There will be a Memorial Mass held at 10:00AM on Friday Nov. 9, 2018 at the Sacred Heart Church located on Providence Street in Taftville followed by a burial within St. Joseph Cemetery located on Boswell Avenue in Norwich. There will be no calling hours. Funeral arrangements are being handled by the Dougherty Brothers Funeral Home. www.doughertybros.com
Published in Norwich Bulletin from Nov. 6 to Nov. 8, 2018
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