He was born Sept. 25, 1933, in New York City and graduated from Kent School. At Princeton he joined Colonial Club and majored in architecture, following it up with an MFA in architecture from Princeton’s School of Architecture. Graduate school both led to his career and connected him with his wife, Betsy. A recent Vassar graduate, she was working in the Princeton art museum and helped Willis with his MFA thesis.
Willis played all four years on Princeton’s freshman and varsity golf teams and was captain in his freshman and senior years. During that time the varsity team won two Eastern Intercollegiate Championships. After Princeton, Willis won championships at four clubs to which he belonged and also played in the U.S. national seniors championships.
Two of his noted restoration projects were a home Van Hornesville, N.Y., that was featured in several architecture publications and is on the National Register of Historic Places; and a church in Wilton, Conn., that held separate spaces for two congregations — Presbyterian and Episcopal. In 1979 Willis was the first winner of the annual 1955 Class Award for his innovation in architecture.
Willis is survived by Betsy; children Nathaniel, Jonathan ’81, Eliza, and David ’87, and 10 grandchildren.