Willis “Lil’ Brother” Harold, Jr. slipped away to his home in Glory on Sunday, March 15, 2020. He was born January 30th, 1928 in Princess Anne County to the late Elcora and Willis Harold, Sr. in Burton Station, a thriving community of farmers founded by formerly enslaved Harolds in what is now the city of Virginia Beach.
Willis Harold grew up in Burton as the 3rd oldest of 10 brothers and sisters. He attended Princess Anne County Training School. He loved and championed education throughout his life, continually teaching himself math and composition skills, writing letters, and was a proud student at the Virginia Beach Adult Learning Center. He was equally passionate about music and loved to set off on road trips while listening to elegant jazz compositions he would practice on his signature saxophone and piano. He could be found in the yard gardening his verdant shrubs, famous rose bushes and sundry trees. He enjoyed autobiographies, especially the Obamas’, talking politics and engaging in local government. He wrote letters to officials and was a vocal opponent of the city of Virginia Beach’s land grab in Burton Station.
Professionally, he retired after 40 years of service as an accomplished Firefighter at Fort Story Military Base, where he was also a Motor Pool Driver. He also had a career as a Virginia Beach Auxiliary Police Officer.
Above all, God and family were at the center of his heart. He was a consummate patriarch for seven children and the extended Harold family. He was a member of both Morning Star Baptist Church and United House of Prayer - Burton Station. He and his late wife, Grace Hines Harold, worked tirelessly to fundraise for construction of the new building at Morning Star. At UHOP, he played the sax as a member of their esteemed gospel jazz band and was recognized as “one of the oldest ‘original’ members of Burton, Virginia.”
He was predeceased by his mother and father, Elcora M. Harold and Willis Harold Sr.; grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Arthur and Sarah Harold and Mr. and Mrs. Alex and Ellen Miles; brothers, Raymond Harold, Clement Harold and Fred Harold; sisters, Gladiola Harold Lalite, Mildred Harold Saunders, and Eva Powell.
Willis leaves to remember his blessed life: two daughters, Shelia McElroy and Patrice Harold; five sons, Maurice and Cynthia Harold, Raymond and Janet Harold, Walter and Janice Harold, Coston and Cheryl Harold, and Kimble Harold; three sisters, Dorothy Gaines, Catherine Bell and Deloris Harold; one aunt, Margaret Coleman; one sister-in-law, Geneva Harold; 18 grandchildren; 35 great-grandchildren; 21 great-great grandchildren; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, extended family and friends.
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