Rachel Elizabeth Willis

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Rachel Elizabeth Willis (Hamilton)

Also Known As: "Liz"
Death: July 29, 2006 (86)
Immediate Family:

Wife of William Haley Willis
Mother of Robin Millicent Helen Cahan and Lisa Katherine Nichol

Managed by: Ailene Nechelle House
Last Updated:

About Rachel Elizabeth Willis

Elizabeth Hamilton disliked her given first name and never used it, preferring "Elizabeth" or "Liz."

Elizabeth Hamilton Willis was born in Meridian, MS January 17, 1920, to Caroline Tillman Hamilton and John Taylor Hamilton. She died on Saturday, July 29, 2006, in Durham, NC after a prolonged illness. Mrs. Willis, wife of the late Prof. William H. Willis, graduated from Meridian High School, where she was a state-ranked diver in 1938, the University of Mississippi in 1941 and received a Master of Science degree from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in 1976. Prior to her marriage, Mrs. Willis held teaching posts in East Liverpool, OH and Thomasville, GA.

After her marriage she lived for many years in Oxford, MS where she studied art with Stuart Purser, the Rose Hill art colony near Canton, MS and later at the University of Colorado with David Hockney. Her work was exhibited in the Mary Buie Museum in Oxford and other galleries elsewhere in Mississippi. Her art was also featured on the dust jacket of Will B. Campbell's And Also with You, published in 1997. In 1963, after 17 years as an Ole Miss faculty wife and adjunct instructor, she moved to Durham when Prof. Willis joined the Duke faculty. With her husband, Mrs. Willis lived in Oxford, England, and traveled throughout North America, Europe and the Middle East.

In Durham, she served on the board of the Durham Art Guild serving as chair of Allied Arts, the predecessor to the Durham Arts Council. She also conceived of and developed the Home Service Corps, a program of the Coordinating Council for Senior Citizens, a precursor to the certified nursing assistant training programs of today. In an article published in the Durham Sun Feb. 20, 1971, she said, "people placed in institutions deteriorate more quickly than those who can stay at home." This was a primary concept in her establishment of the Home Service Corps. She was active at St. Philip's Episcopal Church serving at various times as youth leader and chair of its Altar Guild. Among Mrs. Willis's many affiliations, she was a active member of The Reviewers Club. Her hobbies included deep sea fishing, travel, gardening, bridge, gourmet cooking and she was a life-long supporter of the arts.

She is survived by four daughters: Caroline C. Willis of Washington, DC; grandsons William K. H. Vetter of Austin, TX and Trevor F.H. Vento of Los Angeles, CA; Lisa W. Nichol and son-in-law Robert B. Nichol of Wilmington, NC; grandson William R. Nichol of Shelton, WA, Caroline N. Campbell and grandson-in-law C. Jefferson Campbell of Chicago, IL; Robin W. Cahan and son-in-law Andrew Cahan of Chapel Hill, NC; Boleyn H. Willis-Zeger and son-in-law Geoffrey C. Zeger and grandson George W. N. Sanders of Durham, NC; and her caregiver of many years, Teresa M. Cannady also of Durham, NC. [Obituary prepared by the surviving daughters]

Source:: [http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Hamilton-4201]

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