04/14/04 — COL. H.S.K. WILLIS JR.

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GASTONIA -- Col. (Dr.) H.S.K. Willis Jr. died April 7, 2004 at Gaston Memorial Hospital.

He was a native of Baltimore, Md., and son of the late Jeanette Pearce Willis and Dr. H.S. Kendall Willis Sr.

A memorial service was held Monday, April 12, at New Hope Presbyterian Church of Gastonia and interment will be on May 21 at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors.

He was hospital commander at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base from 1967 to 1971. He retired from the Air Force at Elmendorf Hospital, Anchorage, Alaska, in 1973 with more than 27 years of service, having served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam.

He was the first physician to fly at Mach II, twice the speed of sound, and received the Meritorious Medal with Oakleaf Clusters and the Air Medal. He broke the record for his size and weight plan for the fastest flight from Gastonia to Kitty Hawk, landing in a snowstorm with two inches of ice on the wings of his Cessna 182-RG.

After retirement, he practiced family and aviation medicine in Mount Holly. He was a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Duke University School of Medicine and received a master of public health from Harvard University. He was board certified in aerospace medicine.

He was Past Master of the Pyrenees Lodge 77, a member of Oasis Shrine of Charlotte and formerly Key Man and Governor of the Quiet Birdman, Charlotte Hangar.

He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Gloria Chapman Willis; a daughter and son-in-law, Sharon W. and Terry Gingras of Yorktown, Va.; a son and daughter-in-law, retired Air Force Col. (Dr.) H. Stuart K. Willis III and Blair of Albuquerque, N.M., and son, Steven J. Willis of Summerland Key, Fla.; his stepmother, Dr. Gertrude M. Willis of Chapel Hill; sisters-in-law, Virginia Willis of Cary and Elizabeth Grier of Belmont; and eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by a brother, David P. Willis.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to New Hope Presbyterian Church, 437 S. New Hope Road, Gastonia, N.C., 28056.


Published in Obituaries on April 14, 2004 1:42 PM