Jonathan Lee Willis J.D. ’79 was born on June 12, 1948, in Los Angeles, along with his twin sister, Julianne. Throughout Jon’s childhood, the family moved from LA to Merced, California, to Aurora, Illinois, and then back again to Merced, where Jon graduated from Merced High School. He attended several colleges, pursuing varied interests and ended up obtaining a bachelor’s from San Francisco State and later a law degree from SCU. He practiced law in San Francisco, Orange County, and most recently in Imperial County. This is the history of his education and work, but it isn’t an adequate description of Jon Willis, a man who loved life, loved others, and loved experiencing the world. Throughout his life, Jon had many passions, making a pilgrimage to India as a young man, sailing in the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, scuba diving in the Cayman Islands, 4-wheeling through Copper Canyon, and exploring Thailand and Mexico. He completed more than ten marathons during his years in Orange County, including the LA Marathon (twice!) and San Diego Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon. He loved all genres of music, from classical to classic rock, bluegrass to the blues. For a few years, he owned a sailboat and scuba gear shop. He maintained a lifelong interest in various motor vehicles, purchasing several older Volkswagens with the intent to fix them up. His tricked out Harley Davidson carried him all over California in recent years. Being fully engaged was not a choice for Jon, it was simply the way he lived life. He could, and would, strike up a conversation with anyone, anywhere. His gregarious nature served him well both inside and outside the courtroom. He was proud to be an attorney, working hard to provide enthusiastic and fair service for those he represented. Jon cared about civic matters and was a proud lifelong Democrat. He loved being a member of Los Vigilantes, participating in local activities, being an active supporter of local youth sports, and a fan of the Oakland Raiders. Jon was always ready with a joke and brought energy and verve to all his endeavors. A highly intelligent, funny, and caring man who will be remembered by all that knew him, Jon passed on April 1, 2017. He is survived by his daughter, Elizabeth Woolf Willis of Los Angeles, and sister Juli Leonard of Temucula, California.

27 Aug 2019