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CdM grad dies in Texas

November 25, 2005|By By Dave Thorpe

chris willsChris Wills, a two-sport athlete for the Sea Kings, earned all-league football honors as a senior. A memorial service will be held Saturday in Newport Beach.Memorial services will be held Saturday for Chris Wills, a former two-sport standout at Corona del Mar High who died at his home in Dallas on Nov. 14

Wills grew up in Newport Beach and attended Harbor Day School and Corona del Mar High before graduating with honors from UC Santa Barbara.

Wills played baseball and football at CdM.

In 1995, he was an All-Sea View League second-team pick and a Daily Pilot Dream Team selection as a strong safety for the Sea Kings football team. Wills helped lead Corona del Mar to the 1995 CIF Southern Section Division V semifinals.

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"He was a great football player," Corona del Mar football Coach Dick Freeman said. "He was a hard-working, dependable-type guy, and he lifted hard to prepare for the season."

In baseball, Wills pitched and played third base and catcher.

"He was one of the best athletes in the league," said Ron Coon, who coached Wills on his Newport Beach Little League major division team. "He had a fastball that scared most kids."

After graduating from college, Wills went to work for Fisher Investments in the San Francisco Bay Area. Patricia Wills, his mother, said he became the firm's No. 1 inside salesman and the youngest ever to move to outside sales.

After getting transferred to Dallas, he ranked in the company's top 10 in outside sales, Patricia Wills said, and he had recently been promoted to senior vice president.

"He was a goal-oriented young man academically and in sports," said Patricia Wills. "He was very competitive in everything he did."

"He was a phenomenal athlete and a delightful person," Coon said.

Patricia Wills recalled the last time Chris Wills came to visit.

"I'd put on some weight, so the last time he saw me, he took me to Gold's Gym and signed me up for 50 private lessons," she said. 'That's the kind of person he was -- always helping people."

Chris Wills is survived by his brother, Brad Wills of Austin, Texas; his half-brother, David Wills of Huntington Beach; and his parents, Don and Patricia Wills of Palm Desert.

A memorial service will be held at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Pacific View Memorial Park, 3500 Pacific View Drive in Newport Beach. His parents are requesting that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to establish the Chris Wills Memorial Scholarship Fund at Harbor Day School.

Make checks payable to Harbor Day School and indicate the Chris Wills Memorial Scholarship Fund on the memo line. Donations can be mailed to: Harbor Day School, 3443 Pacific View Drive, Corona del Mar, CA 92625. Write "Attn. Kathleen Jackson" on the envelope.20051125iqfrrckn(LA)Chris Wills, an All-Sea View League second team football player for Corona del Mar High in 1995, died in Dallas on Nov. 14.

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