John Bonner Willis, 90, of New Bern died Wednesday March 18 at Carolina East Medical Center in New Bern, NC.
His funeral will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 21st at Pollock-Best Funeral Home at 2015 Neuse Boulevard in New Bern. Burial with military honors will be held following the funeral at Greenleaf Memorial Park at 900 River Road in New Bern.
Visitation will be held on Friday evening March 20 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the funeral home.
He is survived by his beloved wife of 66 years, Sabra Elizabeth “Pinkie” Willis of the home, his two daughters, Jean W. Abbott and her husband Johnny of Bayboro, Donna K. Riggs and her husband, Dick, of Clayton, and his son, John B. Willis, Jr. and his wife, Sylvia of Manteo, and his dog “Sadie”. His granddaughters, Jamie A. Woodard and Jodi K. Abbott of Bayboro and great grandchildren Jayla C. Woodard and Bryson Abbott Green.
He was preceded in death by his father, Eugene Willis, his mother, Beulah Walker Hardison of Arapahoe, his step-father Frost Hardison, two brothers, J. Eldon Hardison of Bayboro, Jack M. Hardison of Alliance, and two sisters Eugenia W. Walker of Wilson and Opal H. Ross of Columbus, GA.
He was born in Small, NC, and grew up in Arapahoe. He served in the U.S Navy in World War II. He was a commercial fisherman and worked as a Wildlife Protector for the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. He retired from the North Carolina Community College System.
He was a member of Grantham Masonic Lodge No. 725, New Bern for 60 years and a Shriner. He was a self-trained musician and played the fiddle, guitar, and mandolin. He and his musician friends loved to play their instruments and sing country songs and songs they grew up with. He loved fishing, hunting and loved meeting people. He never saw a stranger. He loved being at the Bojangles on Glenburnie Drive where he and his friends shared many hours of laughter and friendship.
He is a member of Pleasant Acres Free will Baptist Church (New Life Church).
His family thanks the staff of Carolina East Medical Center in New Bern and Cherry Point Bay Rehab Center in Havelock for his care during the past several months. Also, thanks and appreciation to the No. 7 Township EMS for their assistance in helping him.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers donations can be made to the Sudan Shriner’s Hospital for Children Hospital Fund, 403 E. Front Street, New Bern, NC 28560.
Online condolences may be sent to the family at
Arrangements by Pollock-Best Funeral Home in New Bern.