In memory of those who have Crossed the Bar


Frank Cecil Willis


Colonel (Pilot), RCN / C.A.F.


Born: 08 Jan 1933, Flin Flon, Manitoba


Died: 07 Feb 2021, Halifax, Nova Scotia


WILLIS, Frank Cecil - aged 88, of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, passed away peacefully on February 7, 2021, at the Palliative Care Unit of the Victoria General Hospital in Halifax.


Born and raised in Flin Flon, MB, he was a son of Fred and Frances Willis. In 1952 he joined the Royal Canadian Navy, which brought him to the east coast, and Nova Scotia became home for the next 69 years. He met and married his wife of 64 years, Mona Williams, from West Green Harbour, Nova Scotia. His military career spanned 37 years and he served with pride and dignity. Next to his family, flying was his passion. Selected early in his career for pilot training, he became a naval fighter pilot flying F2H Banshees from Canada's last aircraft carrier HMCS Bonaventure. Later, at the height of the Cold War, he converted to helicopter operations and in 1972 took command of the Navy's anti submarine squadron 50 at CFB Shearwater. Later in his career, he was appointed


Canada's Defence Attaché in Bonn, Germany and, subsequently, joined the staff at the NATO Defence College in Rome, Italy. He and Mona loved their time in Europe and maintained close friendship with many colleagues after returning to Dartmouth.


Frank enjoyed a long and productive retirement and loved going to the family cottage at Indian Lake, Lunenburg County. There he used his self-taught carpentry, electrical and plumbing skills to maintain the property for 50 years, while still finding time for windsurfing, swimming and lots of waterskiing. He served as President of the Shearwater Aviation Museum which was near and dear to him. He also volunteered at CRA income tax clinics for nearly 30 years, where he loved to interact with his clients. Grampy/Gummy cherished his grandchildren and, until recently, never missed a hockey game or school concert. He took such pride in his grandkids' accomplishments, even learning a thing or two about golf! Family was a priority for Frank and his children and grandchildren brought him so much joy and happiness. He was his family's No. 1 fan. Frank loved to play piano and he and Mona shared many "happy hours" of music and a glass of sherry. Being an avid reader and lifelong learner, it was almost impossible to find a topic Frank didn't know something about. He loved a good discussion about politics or world events.


Frank was a kind and loving soul, who was much loved and will be sorely missed by his wife Mona (Williams); sister Ann McMahon (Perth, Ontario); son Greg (Rosemarie) Moncton; daughter Tanya (Gordie Smith) Dartmouth; grandchildren, Tara, Matthew, Michael, Jake, and great-grandson Royce; many nieces and nephews, and many dear friends. Frank was predeceased by his parents; brothers, Graeme, Nick and George (Marlene); brother-in-law, Peter McMahon; and many brothers and sisters-in-law on the Williams' side.


Cremation has taken place and a memorial service will be held at a later date.  Those who wish to honour Frank can make a donation to the Shearwater Aviation Museum, Salvation Army, or a charity of your choice. His family want to express their sincere appreciation to Dr. Karsten Gehrig for his unwavering support and care throughout Frank's illness, and to the staff at the Palliative Care Unit of the Victoria General Hospital for their compassionate care.  (Winnipeg Free Press 13 Feb 2021)


Ships served in:

HMCS OUTREMONT - 1962 as a Lt (P)




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