Deceased Name: George W. Willis, 81 longtime San Diegan retired from SDPD 

In the San Diego that George W. Willis knew as a boy, herds of cattle crossed what is now Midway Drive and West Point Loma Boulevard.

In the San Diego he knew as a young adult, a policeman rarely had to draw his gun and, in most cases, could defuse a potentially volatile incident by the power of persuasion.

Mr. Willis, a San Diegan since infancy, could tell you about all that and more from personal experience.

"It gave George great pleasure, and all his listeners joy, when he would tell stories of San Diego in the days before housing developments, high-rises and freeways," said daughter Susan Saunders of Ocean Beach. Mr. Willis, a former lifeguard, police officer and citrus rancher, died March 7 at Thornton Hospital in La Jolla. He was 81,

The cause of death was congestive heart failure, Saunders said.

Born in New Mexico, where his parents stopped en route to California, Mr. Willis grew up in the Point Loma area. He played football at Point Loma High School before graduating in 1939.

Decades later, he returned to the campus to gather pieces of red tile from the original structure after it was dismantled. The tile pieces became part of his permanent collection of memorabilia.
SDPD 02/14/1942 - 10/26/1961
1921 - 03/07/2002
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