H. L. Willis

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Horace Luther "H. L." Willis
Mayor of Pineville, Louisiana
In office
August 1952 – June 1954
Preceded byWillie E. Kees, Jr.
Succeeded byS. J. Sasser
Personal details
Born(1892-03-05)March 5, 1892
Winn Parish, Louisiana, US
DiedOctober 10, 1979(1979-10-10) (aged 87)
Pineville, Louisiana
Resting placeGreenwood Memorial Park in Pineville
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Jane Willis
ParentsJulius Luther and Mary Theodosia Shumaker Willis
ResidencePineville, Louisiana
Alma materLouisiana College
OccupationBuilding and grounds superintendent
at Louisiana College
Military service
Branch/serviceUnited States Army
RankMechanic in war
Second lieutenant in Louisiana National Guard after 1926
Battles/warsWorld War I

Horace Luther Willis, known as H. L. Willis (March 5, 1892 – October 10, 1979), was the long-term building and grounds superintendent at Louisiana College . From 1952 to 1954, he served as the mayor of Pineville, Louisiana.

Background[edit]

Willis was born in the Winn Parish community of Newport to a Southern Baptist couple, farmer Julius Luther Willis (1867–1934) and the former Mary Theodosia Shumaker (1866–1936). He had six siblings, all of whom he outlived. Two died before the age of three. Julius Willis died at the age of sixty-seven from injuries sustained when he was struck by a car on the Dodson Road in Winnfield while he was attempting to retrieve a wandering cow.[1] Mary Willis died of an illness two and a half years after the loss of her husband. The state legislator, farmer, and historian Harley Bozeman of Winnfield was a pallbearer at her funeral. Julius and Mary Willis are interred at Winnfield Cemetery.[2]

Career[edit]

Willis graduated in 1919 with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Southern Baptist-affiliated Louisiana College in Pineville and was the first winner of the intercollegiate medal for track and field awarded in Natchitoches. For decades he was one of the most recognized faces on the LC campus through his position for fifty years as the superintendent of grounds and buildings.[3][4] In the summer of 1932, the Louisiana College power plant was struck by a bolt of lightning and a student assistant engineer was injured. The problem was not resolved until January 1933.[5]

A veteran of the United States Army, Willis served overseas during World War I, with the 75th Railroad Artillery as chief mechanic before his discharge in 1919. In 1926, he was commissioned in the Louisiana National Guard as a second lieutenant; in 1943, he was placed on inactive reserve with the rank of major. Willis was highly involved in civic activities. A Democrat, he served on the Pineville City Council from 1946 to 1952.[4] When Willie E. Kees, Jr., resigned as mayor, the council appointed Willis to complete the term which expired on June 30, 1954.[6] He was a member and president of the Red River Atchafalaya and Bayou Bouef Levee Board. For a decade, he was the Pineville civil defense director.[4]

Willis was a charter member of the First Baptist Church of Pineville, a congregation particularly close to Louisiana College. He was a member of the Kiwanis International, Lions International, the Order of the Eastern Star, and a high-ranking official in the Masonic lodge and the Shriners. Active in the American Legion, he was also a charter member of the group Veterans of World War I of the U.S.A. His wife was Jane Willis (year of birth and death unavailable), also the middle name of one of his sisters who died the year in which Willis was born. Willis died at the age of eighty-seven at the Alexandria Veterans Administration Medical Center, located in Pineville. He is interred at Greenwood Memorial Park in Pineville.[4]


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References[edit]

  1. "Julius Luther Nugent". The Winn Parish Enterprise. Winnfield, Louisiana. April 26, 1934.
  2. "Mary Theodosia Shumaker Willis". The Winn Parish Enterprise. November 18, 1936.
  3. Catalog of Louisiana College Session ... with Announcements for the Session ... Louisiana College. p. 78. Retrieved July 25, 2015. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 "Horace Luther Willis". The Alexandria Daily Town Talk.
  5. "Switch at Louisiana College is repaired". Ruston Daily Leader. January 26, 1933 – via Newspapers.com.
  6. "From the Past". The Alexandria Daily Town Talk. August 26, 1952. Retrieved July 24, 2015.
Preceded by
Willie E. Kees, Jr.
Mayor of Pineville, Louisiana

Horace Luther "H. L." Willis
1952–1954

Succeeded by
S. J. Sasser


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