Current Issue

Apr.1, 2009

Vol. 109, No. 11


Ralph Norris Willis ’53

Published in the Apr.1, 2009, issue

“Bo,” an All-American lacrosse player, stellar quarterback for Old Nassau, and a member of the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame, died unexpectedly Dec. 31, 2008, of pulmonary fibrosis complications. He was 77 and lived in Lutherville, Md.

It is fitting that on the night of his death, Bo and Sally, his wife of 55 years, had dined with Redmond Finney ’51, Bo’s fellow Gilman School classmate, Princeton lacrosse and football teammate, and Ivy Club member.

After Navy service, Bo joined the family auto-parts business, becoming head of CRW Parts Inc. He lost a leg due to a blood clot, but that didn’t stop him from playing golf. Ned Jannotta, a tailback in Bo’s 1952 backfield, recalls his refusing assistance and hobbling around the golf course but always posting good scores.

Classmates attending Bo’s funeral and/or assisting with this memorial included Bob Applegate, Bill Brewster, Jay Cooper, Mike Donohue, Jerve Finney, H.H. Hackney, Cy Horine, Ned Jannotta, Pierce Lonergan, John Spencer, Charlie Stout, and Al Weaver.

Besides Sally, Bo is survived by his son, David N.; daughters Cary Weems and Julie O’Connor; sisters Sallie Hewitt and Katherine Monroe; and 10 grandchildren. As Hap Hackney said, “We’ve lost a great friend.”

The Class of 1953

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