Catherine Louise Garrity Willard

Published 12:01 am Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Oct. 16, 1945 – May 20, 2018


NATCHEZ — Services for Catherine Louise Garrity Willard, 72, who died Sunday, May 20, 2018, at her residence surrounded by family, will be 1 p.m. today at Laird Funeral Home Chapel with the Rev. David O’Connor officiating.

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Visitation will be from noon until service time today at the funeral home.

Local arrangements are under the direction of Laird Funeral Home.

Catherine was born Oct. 16, 1945, in Natchez, the daughter of Francis Leroy Garrity Jr. and Annie Passbach Garrity.

She was a graduate of Cathedral High School and a lifelong member of St. Mary Basilica. Catherine, or to many was known as “CeCe,” was retired from Energy Drilling after 28 years of service.

CeCe’s greatest joy was coordinating family events and traditions for her beloved children, granddaughters, nieces and nephews. Most weekends, Catherine could be found in the kitchen getting ready for a gathering, enjoying a camping trip, a sporting event for her family or relaxing on Lake St. John. She and “Papa,” her husband and high school sweetheart, Jimmy Willard, were partners in all ways — putting their love for family first. Jimmy was by her side as a devoted, patient and loving caregiver. They were married for more than 52 years.

Mrs. Willard was preceded in death by her parents; two brothers, Francis L. Garrity III and James Byron Garrity; and her parents-in-law, James Robert and Neil Ellis Willard, all of Natchez.

Survivors include her husband James Robert Willard Jr.; one son, Robert James “Jim” Willard and wife, Selah Lambdin Willard; one daughter, Laura Willard Bruce and husband, Kevin D. Bruce, all of Natchez; four grandchildren, Catherine Cameron “Cami” Willard of Asheville, N.C., Sarah Bethany Willard, Anna Kate “Katie” Carpenter, and Emily Anne Carpenter; one great-granddaughter, Kaelyn Lane Carpenter; and two brothers, Charles Thomas Garrity and David and Dianne Willard, all of Natchez.

The family extends thanks to Compassus hospice for all their comfort, compassion and professionalism during this period. The family also thanks Ida Smith for her caring, companionship and loyalty to Catherine and her family.

The family requests that memorials may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association of Mississippi, located in Ridgeland.

Online condolences may be sent to the family at