Longtime Sitka resident Paul Roman Willis Sr. died Oct. 11, 2008, at Mount Edgecumbe Hospital following a long illness. He was 76.
He was born June 22, 1932, in Sitka, to Charlie Willis Sr., of the Chookaneidi Wolf-Eagle moiety, and Mary (Jim) Willis, of the Diesheetaan, Raven moiety, from Angoon. He was a Raven Beaver, a Deisheetaan and chief of the Angoon End of the Trail House (Deishu Hit).
After attending Mt. Edgecumbe High School, he served with the U.S. Army C. 1, 4th infantry, 1st battalion in Korea from 1952 to 1954.
He married Ethel Kitka on Aug. 23, 1955, at the Presbyterian Church in Juneau, with the Rev. Dr. Walter Soboleff officiating.
He grew up in Angoon and fished with his father for years aboard the F/V Florence. After moving to Sitka in the mid-1950s, he was employed at Alaska Pulp Co. and at the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium.
He was a member of the Noow Tlein Dancers and won awards for several years during the Alaska Day festival.
He and his wife also won jitterbug contests.
He enjoyed attending the Gold Medal basketball tournament, traveling, playing tricks, dressing up for Halloween and taking pictures with his movie camera. He also loved his family dearly, they said.
He was a member of the American Legion Sitka Post 13, Alaska Native Brotherhood, Sealaska, Shee Atika Inc., of Sitka, and Kootznoowoo Inc., of Angoon.
He is survived by his wife, Ethel Willis, of Sitka; children, Gerald Willis, Patty Woolsey and Violet Willis, of Sitka; brother, Gary Willis and wife, Francine, of Angoon; sisters, Nora Kinville and husband, Bob, of Sitka, Jeannie Lee and husband, Fred, of Juneau, and Lilly Day and husband, Pete Nease, of Juneau; nephews, Stanley Brown, of Anchorage, and Randy Brown, of Juneau; niece, Karen Price, of Juneau; grandchildren, Heather Alger and husband, Craig, of Juneau, Alicia, Johnathan and Paul, of Juneau, Brandy Brazell and her children, Kasandra and Mary Zaukar, of Sitka, Crystal Brazell and her children, Nikkia, Kawika and Daniel, of Sitka, and Paula Barnes and partner, Ray Dennis, of Sitka; adopted brother, Buddy Widmark, of Sitka; auntie, Jenny Jim, of Angoon; cousins, Liz Howard and Marie Diamond, of Sitka; and numerous other relatives.
A cultural memorial service was held Oct. 14 at the Sheet'ka Kwaan Naa Kahidi after which he was taken to St. Michael's Cathedral to lie in state overnight. Services were held at 10:30 a.m. on Oct. 15 at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall and at 11:30 a.m. at St. Michael's Cathedral. Following graveside services, a reception was held at the Sheet'ka Kwaan Naa Kahidi. A family viewing was held Oct. 13 at Prewitt Funeral Home.
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