A.M. ‘Monk’ Willis, Longview, former regent for whom Willis Library was named, died Jan. 14. He served on the Board of Regents from 1965 to 1983, including 10 years as chair. Willis was a graduate of Washington and Lee University and the Harvard Business School. He was a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy and had served as an advisor to President Lyndon B. Johnson. He operated an insurance business in Longview before joining the staff of U.S. Rep. Ray Roberts in 1972. In 1976, he was appointed staff director of the U.S. House of Representatives Veterans’ Affairs Committee, retiring in 1983.
Known as an advocate for social justice, he was involved with many community organizations in Longview. He was the co-recipient of the first Unity Awards presented in 2005 by the Longview Race Relations Committee. He also was involved with the Texas State Commission on Mental Health, Texas Commission for Better Schools and Texas Committee of Governing Boards. Memorials may be made to the A.M. Willis Jr. Scholarship at UNT.