Jesse Willard Johns, Jr ., age 79, passed away on September 3, 2021. Born November 3, 1941, to Corriene Carruthers and Jesse Willard Johns, Sr. in Tannehill, Louisiana, Willard went to school in Doyline, Louisiana. He later transferred to Minden High School where he played football. He developed a life-long love of cars while working with his father after school, pumping gas and changing oil at his parents’ country grocery store. He was the first in his family to go to college, heading to Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. He joined Sigma Nu and majored in mechanical engineering. He later transferred to Louisiana Tech where he married Cecile Searles and graduated in 1965.
Willard went to work for the Stahl-Urban Co. where he managed garment factories in Brookhaven, MS, and Winnsboro, LA. He successfully ran for the Franklin Parish school board, winning the election due to his reputation for treating all factory workers fairly.
After joining Todd Uniform Co., the family moved to Ripley, TN, and then St. Louis, MO, where all his children graduated from Webster Groves High School and developed a love for Imo’s Pizza.
After early retirement, he and Cecile moved to Phoenix and then Houston as Cecile pursued her career with Phillips66. During retirement, Willard enjoyed learning about and making pottery, cooking, passing along family recipes, keeping in touch with family and friends, and became an Astros fan.
He is survived by his sister Barbara Milford, his wife, Cecile Searles Johns, and his three children and their families: Jessica and Smiley Pool of Richardson, TX; Benton, Tammy, Jesse, and Dylan Johns of Summerville, SC; Richard, Jennifer, Hanna, Abigail, and RJ Johns of Cary, NC.