Barbara Foster Willis

Published 9:25 am Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Shortly after doing what she loved best – attending church – Barbara Foster Willis was called home to be with the Lord on Sunday, Oct. 24, 2010.

She was born Jan. 6, 1940 to Celeste Sellers and Willie E. Foster in Castleberry, Alabama. She grew up under the care of her loving grandmother, Mrs. Pearl Thomas, where she was taught to love and care for her fellowman.

Barbara confessed her life to Christ at an early age and joined the Friendship Missionary Baptist Church. She faithfully served as the church’s Financial Secretary and the Director of both the Junior Choir and Senior Choir. In addition, she served faithfully as member of The Union District’s Senior Women’s Missionary Auxiliary as Financial Secretary and Director of Mass Choir. Her “beams of joy” were her church, family and friends.

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She was educated at the Georgiana Training School where she was a cheerleader for the “Mighty Bulldogs.” She began her career as a substitute teacher. In August 1958, she was hired as a secretary for the Georgiana Training School and continued in this capacity with the Butler County School System, serving under six principals for over fifty years. Her tenure was among the longest in the Butler County School System. She worked tirelessly and became a second mother to many of the children whose lives she touched.
She was a member of the Order of Easter Star, Queen Ester Chapter No. 169, Georgiana, Alabama, a precinct worker at the Butler County Voter Polls and participated in the Greater Butler County Relay for Life.

On Aug. 26, 1967, she was joined in holy matrimony to Willie A. Willis, Sr., until his death on July 14, 2006. She was a mother of eight children and two step-children.

To always cherish her memories are Yvonne Denise (Richard) Campbell of Georgiana, Cleo (Angela) Atkins III, of Manassa, VA, Willie Albert (Tawana) Willis, Jr., of Opelika, Mitzie (Christopher) Campbell, Krystal (Ricky) Hamilton, Randolph Willis, all of Georgiana, Bridgit (Freddie) Watson of Greenville, Valerie Willis of Georgiana; two step-daughters, Barbara Monday and Mechelle DuMonde of Cleveland; three god-daughters, Katrina Roper Smith, Wanda Parker, and Deedra Benson; a devoted brother and sister-in-law, Morris and Roberta Lee of Georgiana; twelve grandchildren, Chenika (Vonn) Crittenden, Pierre (Kenisha) Atkins, April Atkins, Ricardo Atkins, Thurston Atkins, Courtney Atkins, Devante’ Hamilton, Alexis Atkins, Paige Campbell, Devin Williams, Quentin Hamilton, Madison Thornton; one great-grandchild, Thurston Atkins Jr.; one devoted aunt, Laura Ragland, Birmingham; one brother, Willie Foster Jr. of Ellington, CT; two sisters, Louise Wilson, San Antonio, Tex., Mildred (Clay) Alston, Durham, NC; stepmother, Marie Herbert of Montgomery; one uncle, David Lee Sellers of Mount Willing; adopted sister, Geraldine Campbell Feagin; life-long friends, Dorothy Marshall, Mary Roper, Juanita Dixon and Loretta Pugh; and a host of nephews, nieces, cousins and friends.