Commander Keith Willis Receives Final Military Honors in Suffolk, Virginia

PORTSMOUTH, Va. – Coast Guard commanding officer Keith Willis, who died Feb. 13 in Kittery, Maine, was given final military honors in Portsmouth, Va., Monday during a funeral celebration of his life.

Prior to his death Cmdr. Willis, 44, from Frisco, N.C., was the commanding officer of the 270-foot medium endurance Cutter Tahoma home ported in Kittery, Maine.

“I am very proud of Cmdr. Keith Willis and his crew on the cutter Tahoma,” said Vice Adm. Robert J. Papp, Jr., the commander of the Coast Guard’s Atlantic Area command in Portsmouth, Va. “It’s a privilege for me and for all of the Coast Guard family gathered here today to give honor to Cmdr. Willis because he was a man known for his kindness, generosity and faithfulness.

Vice Adm. Papp also presented Cmdr. Willis, posthumously, with the Meritorious Service Medal for the performance of his duty as the commanding officer of cutter Tahoma from May 2007 to February 2009.

Cmdr. Willis is survived by his wife of 15 years, Carolyn Ann Willis; a daughter, Melissa Willis; a son, Matthew Willis; his parents, Erlene Tandy Willis and Harlon Clyde Willis; a sister, Karen S. Stowe; and a brother-in-law, Jeff Stowe.

Memorial contributions in Cmdr. Willis’ memory may be made to the Willis Children’s Scholarship Fund set up by his Coast Guard Academy classmates with checks made payable to Class of 1989 Trust, c/o Mr. Charles Coiro, 3 Rainbow Court, Quaker Hill, Conn., 06375, or go to www.USCG89.org and in the ‘Specific Requests’ box, please enter ‘for the class of 1989’s Willis Children Scholarship Fund.’

Online condolences may be made at www.lovingfuneralhome.com.

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A Coast Guard Ceremonial Honor Guard firing party renders a 21-gun salute at the funeral of Cmdr. Keith Willis, commanding officer of Coast Guard Cutter Tahoma, at Albert G. Horton Veterans Cemetary in Suffolk, Va., Feb. 23, 2009. (U.S. Coast Guard Photo / Petty Officer 3rd Class Mark Jones)

Members of the Coast Guard Ceremonial Honor Guard fold the national ensign above the casket of Cmdr. Keith Willis during Willis' funeral at Albert G. Horton Veterans Cemetary in Suffolk, Va., Feb. 23, 2009. (U.S. Coast Guard Photo / Petty Officer 3rd Class Mark Jones)

Members of the Coast Guard Ceremonial Honor Guard fold the national ensign above the casket of Cmdr. Keith Willis during Willis' funeral at Albert G. Horton Veterans Cemetary in Suffolk, Va., Feb. 23, 2009. (U.S. Coast Guard Photo / Petty Officer 3rd Class Mark Jones)

PORTSMOUTH, Va. -- Vice Adm. Robert J. Papp, Jr., Commander, Coast Guard Atlantic Area presents the national ensign to Carolyn Willis, the widow of Cmdr. Keith A. Willis, Monday, Feb. 23, 2009 at the Albert G. Horton Veteran's Cemetery in Suffolk, Va., while her son Matthew, daughter Melissa and in laws Erlene and Harlon look on. (Coast Guard Photo/Senior Chief Petty Officer Steve Carleton)

PORTSMOUTH, Va. -- Vice Adm. Robert J. Papp, Jr., Commander, Coast Guard Atlantic Area presents the national ensign to Carolyn Willis, the widow of Cmdr. Keith A. Willis, Monday, Feb. 23, 2009 at the Albert G. Horton Veteran's Cemetery in Suffolk, Va., while her son Matthew, daughter Melissa and in laws Erlene and Harlon look on. (Coast Guard Photo/Senior Chief Petty Officer Steve Carleton)

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One Comment

  1. Jim Randall says:

    Fair winds and following seas my friend. I will miss our conversations at the fence as I was looking forward to you coming back home to Virginia soon. Peace be with you.