Howard Mott Willis, 1942-2022

Howard Mott Willis, Jr., 80, passed away peacefully on May 12, 2022. 

He was born January 10, 1942 in Washington, DC to the late Howard M. Willis, Sr. and Virginia S. Willis. 

He is survived by his children, Mark Julian and his wife, Kelly, of Germantown, MD; his daughter, Heather Swart and her husband, Ike, of Leesburg, VA, and his son, Ryan Willis and his wife, Tara, of Leesburg, VA; his grandchildren, Kristen St. Louis, Katie Julian, Garrett Julian, Abbie Swart and Jeremy Willis.  He is also survived by his sister Nancy Rich and her husband, Jim, of Willoughby, OH; four great-grandchildren, three nieces and one nephew.  He was preceded in death by his wife, Margaret E. Willis. 

Howard was raised in Chevy Chase, MD, and graduated from Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School in 1961.  In the late 1960’s, while working for American Oil Company, he relocated to Leesburg, VA, where he first began his volunteer career with the Loudoun County Rescue Squad. He volunteered with the Leesburg Volunteer Fire Company for over 20 years; as a longtime volunteer, there were always good stories to be told. He enjoyed portraying Santa on the LVFC Santa firetruck rides through the Leesburg neighborhoods during the first few years of its inception. 

Howard became a police officer with the Leesburg Police Department in the early 1970’s before going into business as co-owner of Village Bakery and American Caterers. He continued to work in a part time capacity with the police department until 1980 when he was elected to the Leesburg Town Council. 

He went on to own Village Vittles, which he expanded into Howard’s, Just Good Food.  Howard worked for the Loudoun Chapter of the American Red Cross doing transportation and was deployed for disaster relief in several states during his time there. While working for the Red Cross, he also owned Sweet T’s Ice Cream and Deli in Purcellville. 

Howard was also a lifelong devoted fan of the Washington Redskins.  Even in recent years, he never lost his faith in them and continued to wear a knit beanie that he purchased at RFK stadium in the early 1960s. He eventually made his home in Chincoteague, VA, where he enjoyed semi-retirement, driving a tour bus for the Museum of Chincoteague and a school bus for the local elementary schools. In the years he lived on the Eastern Shore, he would return to Leesburg each year to cater the Lions Club fundraiser dinner up until 2020.  He had a fantastic sense of humor and was never one to miss an opportunity for a sarcastic comment.  Howard had an incredible love for people and never met a stranger. 

Please join in his Celebration of Life on June 25, 2022 at 1pm at the Leesburg Volunteer Fire Company, 215 Loudoun Street, SW, Leesburg, VA 20175.  In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests donations be made to the Leesburg Volunteer Fire Company.

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