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James Mack Willis, 74, Columbia, KY (1948-2022)

James Mack Willis of Columbia transitioned from this life Friday, October 7, 2022, at his residence in Memphis, Tennessee. He was 74 years old.

Funeral services will be held at NoonCT on Saturday, October 22, 2022, at Grissom-Martin Funeral Home, 200 Campbellsville Street, Columbia, KY. Burial will follow in Forest Lawn Cemetery

Visitation is requested after 10amCT on Saturday, October 22, 2022.

He was born July 13th, 1948, in Adair County, to the late Earl and Jennie Vee Ewing Willis. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by three sisters, Clara Willis Flowers, Earlene Willis Thomas, Kay Willis Scott, and one brother, Ralph Willis.

He is survived by his wife, Dr. Antoinette Crawford-Willis of Memphis, TN, brothers Fred (Jean) Willis, of Louisville, KY, Glenn (Cora) Willis, of Sacramento, CA, and two stepdaughters, Stefanie (Daniel) Gregory of Memphis, TN, Karla (Andre') Foster of Jackson, MS, four grandchildren, Alex (16), Garrett (16), Lydia (15), Leah (13), a host of nieces, nephews, other relatives, friends, and Sydney, the family dog.

Mack attended Adair County High School, where he played basketball. He attended Kentucky State University and graduated from Lindsey Wilson College in Columbia. He also graduated from Western Kentucky University, receiving two master's degrees in Education and Counseling. Mack was an educator for Jefferson County Public Schools for 25 years, first as a classroom teacher and later as a homebound teacher for disabled students.

Mack professed his life to Christ early; he was a member of First Baptist Church in Columbia, KY, where he sang in the Junior Choir and attended Sunday School. He often made Sunday School run over allotted time by having deep discussions and asking the teacher to explain the lesson in more detail.

Mack was a devoted member of Community Baptist Church in Louisville, KY. He served as an usher, was Chairman of the Men's Day Program, and attended Sunday School, where he again had deep discussions with the teacher. He also contributed to the Senior Citizen Program at Community Baptist Church.

Mack was an avid U of L fan. He and his two nephews, Charles Willis and Vince Willis, with Michael Graves, started the Willis Family's Traditional U of L Football Tailgate games. He served as a Board Member of the University of Louisville Cardinals Club and was a member of the Gopher Softball Team in Louisville.

He was the chief architect of cooking the hog for over 35 years at the Annual Fourth of July Willis Pig Roast, which he thoroughly enjoyed.

Grissom-Martin Funeral Home in charge of arrangements. Online condolences may be left at

This story was posted on 2022-10-18 21:07:53
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Grissom-Martin Funeral Home
Located one block off the Square at 200 Campbellsville Street in Columbia, KY.
To reach David and Cathy Martin, phone (270)-384-2149, or e-mail:
Large enough to serve comfortably; Small enough to serve personally.

G & G Monuments
Todd and Mandi Green and Jared Conover
1670 Liberty Road, Columbia, KY. email:, 270-634-0359
First Quality Marble and Granite

Stotts-Phelps-McQueary Funeral Home
Established 1922 | 210 Greensburg St., Columbia, KY 42728 | Jeff Jessie, Owner
270-384-2145,, email

James Mack Willis, 74, Columbia, KY (1948-2022)

2022-10-18 - Columbia, KY - Photo courtesy Grissom-Martin Funeral Home.
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