Colonel Benjamin Willis

June 12, 1938 - April 9, 2017

Col. Willis was a Bay Minette native, a Baldwin County High School graduate and a graduate of West Point Military Academy.
He graduated from Baldwin County High School in 1956 where he was a celebrated football player, active in many school organizations and liked by all of his classmates.
He went on to have a career in the military and retired with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

Baldwin County High School

Col. Willis was a 1956 graduate of Baldwin County High School. He played football as an offensive running back and a defensive halfback.

He went on to West Point Military Academy where he graduated in 1961. While there, he was awarded a Brigade boxing championship and played football for three years.


“Col. Ben” had a distinguished Army career serving four tours of duty in Vietnam as an Airborne Ranger in the 101st Infantry. Earning the purple heart and the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, he was awarded numerous medals and commendations, including a Bronze and two Silver Stars.

After military retirement he worked with private industry in environmental cleanup and as a private investigator. He became a leader at North Springs Methodist Church in Atlanta, Georgia. He was the self-appointed kitchen and fellowship director, known for his “almost famous” BBQ pork with all the fixings, sending meals to go to the needy families in the community.

This shadowbox contains Col. Willis’s Army dress uniform coat with all of his military insignia along with most of the medals he was awarded throughout his service. Also included are photos taken from throughout his life and military career. His military paperwork and other ephemera have been archived and are only available to peruse while in the library and are available upon request.