Magazine article The American Organist

OBITUARIES: Henry Willis IV

Magazine article The American Organist

OBITUARIES: Henry Willis IV

Article excerpt

Henry Willis IV, 91 years old, June 23, 2018, in India. The last living family member of the Henry Willis & Sons organbuilding dynasty, Mr. Willis was born on January 19, 1927, to Henry Willis III and Clara Constance (Sinclair) Willis at Streatham Hill, London. Educated at Gladstone Preparatory School, London, Westminster School, London, and Giggleswick School, North Yorkshire, he ran away from school in 1944 to join the Royal Army during World War II. He was promoted to lance corporal in 1945 and commissioned to the Queen's Royal Regiment in 1946, where he was placed in charge of a Japanese prisoner of war camp and the repatriation of British prisoners.

Mr. Willis joined the family organbuilding firm, Henry Willis and Sons, in 1948 as a laborer (at the insistence of his father), then trained as a pipemaker and voicer under George Deeks. He was sent to manage the Liverpool Branch in 1954, principally to oversee the restoration of the great 1855 Willis concert organ in St. George's Hall, which had been severely damaged by wartime bombing, theft, and general mishandling.

Henry Willis IV

Mr. Willis returned to London to manage the head office in 1965 due to his father's worsening health. Following Henry Willis Ill's death on February 27, 1966, he began the search for property to construct a purpose-built organ factory in Petersfield. …

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