Chester Newton Willis III
Published 11:46 am Sunday, May 28, 2023
Dec. 31, 1950 – May 25, 2023
Services for Chester Newton Willis III, 72, who died at his home on Lake St. John in Ferriday, LA on May 25, 2023 will be conducted at Laird Funeral Home Chapel with Rev. Dr. Joan Gandy officiating at 2 on Wednesday, May 31,2023.
Visitation will be from 5 to 7 on Tuesday, May 30,2023 and Wednesday, May 31, 2023 from noon to 2.
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Burial will follow the service at the Natchez City Cemetery under the direction of Laird Funeral Home.
He married Lucinda “Cindy” Box in Jackson, Mississippi on May 19, 1973 and was the father of three children, Chester “Chet” Newton Willis IV, Joseph “Joe” Harman Willis, and Benjamin “Ben” Stratton Willis.
Newt, was born on December 31, 1950 in Natchez, Mississippi, the son of Chester Newton Willis Jr. and Betty Doherty Willis. A 1968 graduate of Natchez High School and Delta State University with a degree in Business Management where he played baseball and was a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity.
His business education and entrepreneurial spirit served him well in the banking industry and then as a founder of Willis Vending in 1981 and later in 1986 he began MissLou Vending where he was part-owner and operator until he retired in 2017.
He served as a member of the Lion’s Club in McComb, MS and the Sertoma Club in Jackson, MS and continued his community involvement after moving back to Natchez where he was an active member of the Santa Clause Committee and the Fortunato/Brown Golf Classic.
He was a founding member of the LSJ (Lake St. John) Foundation where he started the 4th of July fireworks display from his pier every year as well as helping to raise funds and working Lake St. John Poker runs and helping with the Lake St. John clean-up crew.
Newt was preceded in death by his parents, Chester Newton Willis Jr. and Betty Doherty Willis of Natchez, MS; brother-in-law, Jimmy Deal of Destrehan, LA and brother-in-law Charlie Robinson of Germantown, TN.
Survivors include his wife Cindy Box Willis; his sons Chet Willis (Amy) of Chelsea, AL, Joe Willis (Lisa) of Natchez, and Ben Willis of Natchez; his grandchildren, Lane Willis and Logan Willis of Chelsea, AL, Joshua Hargon, Keagan Brown, and Kaylie Jester all of Natchez. His sister, Debbie Willis Deal of Destrehan, LA; niece and Goddaughter Celeste Deal Maunoir (Brad) of Houston, TX; sister-in-law Lindy Box Robinson of West Point, TN; niece Ellen Robinson Sanders (Justin) of West Point, TN, nephew Matthew Robinson (Jesse) of Rogers, AR; close family friend Lou Ellen Alford Stout (Guy) of Natchez as well as a multitude of other great nieces, great nephews, cousins, relatives, close friends, and his beloved dog, Ace.
Pallbearers are Lane Willis, Logan Willis, Joshua Hargon, Keagan Brown, Brad Fondren, and Guy Stout.
Honorary Pallbearers are Vernon Alford, Lonnell Conner, Tim Doherty, Dickie Hutchinson, Bruce Laird, Dicky Laird, George Prince, Boo Mims, Kirk Montgomery, Steve Rials, Freddie Sandel, Pat Sandel, Rob Simon, and his Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity brothers.
In lieu of flowers, Memorials may be made to First Presbyterian Church of Natchez 400 State Street Natchez, MS 39120
or LSJ (Lake St. John) Foundation 458 Hwy 569 Ferriday, LA 71334.
Online condolences may be sent to the family at lairdfh.com.