Classes dismissed in observance of Willis funeral

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 21, 2008

Officials canceled classes at Franklin High School on Tuesday, the same day funeral services will be held for Josh Willis, a senior at the school who died Wednesday.

The funeral, scheduled for 1 p.m. at Apostolic Faith Church of God on Oak Street in Franklin, comes nearly a week after the 19-year-old senior was found unresponsive on the family bathroom’s floor on Yeidee Street before school started.

A cause of death has not been determined, although foul play is not suspected. Willis, a four-year letterman in two sports at the school, had no previous known medical conditions that were detected before his death, his football coach said.

Aurellius Willis, an older brother and family spokesman, said the family had not been told when an autopsy report would be available.

While getting ready for classes Wednesday morning, Willis was on the telephone with a classmate to confirm transportation to the school. Shortly thereafter, he apparently fell to the floor in the bathroom. His mother, Linda, heard the fall and found her son. She called 911, and the paramedics,

after trying to revive Willis, transported him to Southampton Memorial Hospital.

Aurellius Willis said his brother died at the house.

Johnson Funeral Home is in charge of funeral arrangements.

The outpouring of emotion for Willis has been considerable. Messages posted to The Tidewater News’ Web site by students and residents speak to his friendliness, as well as his success in sports. The student newspaper, which will publish this week, contains two pages of rememberances.

Students at Franklin High School and at J.P. King Middle were dismissed early on Wednesday following news of his death.

S.P. Morton Elementary School will close at noon on Tuesday. J.P. King Middle School will close at 11:30 a.m. The high school will be closed all day.