Biographical Information

James Willett

James Lee Willett was born on January 9, 1926 at Old Mesilla, New Mexico. His parents were Ewen Chambers Willett and Bessie Brown Willett. He received his elementary education at Burkburnett, Texas, and his secondary education at Coffeyville, Kansas.

He attended Harding College, in Searcy, Arkansas where he graduated in 1947 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Bible and social studies, with minors in English and education. In 1971, he was awarded his Master of Arts degree in music from West Texas State University in Canyon, Texas.

James and Nina Willett - 1999
James and Nina Willett -- 1999

On Christmas Day in 1945, James Willett married Nina Spears of Butler, Missouri. They were both 19 and had met at Harding. Nina worked as a secretary while James finished his degree. Their children were Jimmy Lee (1947), Dwight (1954), Edward (1959), and William Chidowe (1957). Willy, a chosen son from Zimbabwe, became a part of their family in 1972.

Brother Willett was a teacher and a preacher.