Sisson, Willard L.

Retired U.S. Army Colonel Held Long Career With Chattanooga Federal Savings And Loan

  • Wednesday, January 5, 2022
Willard L. Sisson
Willard L. Sisson

Col. Willard Lorin Sisson, 96, died on December 31, 2021. 


Born on June 8, 1925, in Ringgold, Ga., he was the seventh son of William Arterberry Sisson and Polly Josephine Palmer Sisson.  He was preceded in death by brothers Rembert, Robert Lester, Marvin, Carl, Paul, and Earl. His father remarried as a widower, and that union produced a brother John Sisson. 


He graduated from Ringgold High School and completed one year at the University of Georgia.  He was drafted in 1944 into the U.S. Army. Following basic training he was assigned to units in Italy.  He was completing the last week of training for the 10th Mountain Division preparing for the front when the war in Europe ended. He was reassigned as an MP to Allied Forces Headquarters in Caserta, Italy. 


He joined the Army Enlisted Reserve Corp in 1946 when he left active duty.  He returned to UGA and was graduated in 1949 with a BS in Agriculture. He was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Army Reserves through ROTC at UGA.


His first employment was with Pet Milk Company in Franklin, Ky., then Kinnett Dairies in Columbus, Ga. He was employed two years with Franklin Life Insurance Company in Columbus, then joined his brother, Paul, selling general insurance at C.V. Brown and Brother in Chattanooga in 1960.  He worked 23 years for Chattanooga Federal Savings and Loan/Interfed. He was senior vice president, secretary, and director of branch operations when he retired in 1985.


Upon moving to Chattanooga he joined the 4004th U.S. Army Garrison, later renamed the 3397th U.S. Army Garrison.  He was promoted to Colonel in 1968.


In 1972 he was selected to be Commander of the Garrison and served in the position for 4½ years.  His unit received the Department of Defense National Award for Community Service in 1974 at the Pentagon.  He retired in 1979 having completed 33 years of service.  Army awards included the Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, World War II Victory Medal, Army of Occupation of Italy Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal, and the American Campaign Medal.


His family consists of his wife of 72 years, Sue Comer Sisson, and daughter, Mary Kathryn (Kathy) Sisson Jones (Terry). His daughter, Gail Sisson and grandson, Spencer Jones predeceased him. 


He is survived by his brother, John (Margie), two grandchildren, Lorin (Martha) Jones and Laura Margaret Jones, and numerous nieces and nephews.


He and his wife retired to their farm in Flintstone, Ga., to breed and raise registered Black Angus cattle. He loved rooting and growing plants, vegetable gardening, his animals- dogs and cows, and making the land productive. 


His hobby was building bluebird houses and promoting interest in bluebirds.  He was presented with the 2012 Walker County Young Farmers J.C. Gober Community Service Award for visiting school classes to speak about the plight of the North American Bluebird.


Before retirement he was active in the Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce, the Home Builders Association, the Board of Realtors, the Exchange Club, the March of Dimes, and the Reserve Officers Association.  His activities since retirement include the Rossville Gideons, Chattanooga City Farmers, Tri-State Cattlemen, Walker County Young Farmers, Military Officers Association of America, Habitat for Humanity (First Baptist Church work crew), and the Tri-State Bluebird Society.  He was an active member of First Baptist Church of Chattanooga and a Life Deacon.  He and his wife were formerly members of the Challengers Sunday School Class and more recently the Waters Class.   They were previously active members of Central Baptist Church of Woodmore.


In lieu of flowers memorial contributions can be made to the Medal of Honor Heritage Center, Habitat for Humanity, Gideons International, First Baptist Church or a charity of your choice.


The funeral will be held on Friday, Jan. 14, at 12:30 p.m. in the sanctuary at First Baptist Church in the Golden Gateway. 


Visitation will be from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at the church preceding the service. Masks are required.  Burial will follow at the National Cemetery with full military honors.


Arrangements are by the East Chapel of Chattanooga Funeral Home, 404 South Moore Road.


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Willard L. Sisson
Willard L. Sisson
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