Army Colonel Willard L. Sisson was laid to rest Friday at the VA National Cemetery in Chattanooga with full military honors. Friends gathered at the First Baptist Church in Chattanooga to remember the Ringgold, Ga., native. Pastor Rev. Thomas Quisenberry called the Colonel “a man of integrity”. The pastor said Mr. Sisson accepted Christ at the age of 14 and his entire life was modeled after his Savior's teachings.
Col. Sisson's daughter, Kathy Jones, remembered her dad as a man of his word. Ms. Jones said, "My dad always stood on the truth." She said there was never any doubt about his love for her mother Sue. The Sissons were married for 72 years.
Col. Sisson worked for Chattanooga Federal – Interfed for 23 years - retiring in 1985 as a senior vice president and director of branch operations. Ms. Jones said her father was especially proud of Bill Raines Jr. Ms. Jones said Mr. Raines came into the bank on business and her father talked him into joining the Army Reserve. Mr. Raines retired as a Major General and is very much involved in the Coolidge Medal of Honor Heritage Center.
Jim Day was manager of the Chattanooga Federal branch at Highland Plaza. Mr. Day said Col. Sisson gave him his first job. He said Col. Sisson was one of the best at financial matters and made it possible for many to own their first home.
Col. Sisson graduated from Ringgold High School and the University of Georgia. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army Reserves through ROTC at UGA.
Col. Sisson was promoted to Colonel in 1968 and selected to be commander of the 3397th U.S. Army Reserve Garrison on 23rd Street in Chattanooga in the 70’s.
Pastor Quisenberry said the Colonel loved the outdoors and spent much of his retirement on his Flintstone, Ga., farm with his Black Angus cattle. His hobby was “building bluebird houses.”
Col. Sisson's love for the Lord Jesus Christ was exampled by his work with the Gideon’s International. He distributed hundreds of Bibles where there was an open door. He was very active at the First Baptist Church in the Golden Gateway serving as a deacon. Col. Sisson also served on the Armed Forces Week Committee for many years and enjoyed seeing high school students build the floats.
Under bright sunny skies with a temperature of 50, the Colonel was buried after the 21 gun salute and playing of taps. He was 96 years old.