LONGVIEW, TEXAS (KYTX) Former Longview city council member and community activist, Sidney Bell Willis has died. Willis was 76.
Sidney Bell Willis died Sunday after a long illness. Her career on the city council began in 2002 with a vow to fight for south Longview. That passion and commitment is what she's being remembered for today. "She took care of everybody. There were even kids on the neighborhood streets that she took care of. To me she means my world," says Willis' son Willie.
Willie Willis sat outside the Longview city council chambers Monday, remembering his mother who spent countless hours here as a city council woman until she retired just over a year ago. "She didn't really want to. She's always a go getter. She even watched it at home on TV and would talk and like she was there," says Willis.
Kasha Williams has known Ms. Willis all her life. Last year, as Ms. Willis stepped down as the District 3 council woman, Kasha was elected to take her place. "She epitomized intelligence, integrity, character and strength. That was who she was. No judgement. Always accepting but willing to tell you the truth," says Williams.
"She taught me how to be a man. She told me that's all you got in this world. You got God and to be a man and just do the best you can. You're going to fail but when you fail, learn from it," recalls Willis.
Sidney Bell Willis pushed to start Longview's transit system, brought additional retail stores to south Longview and even began an annual prayer walk. "Her legacy lives on in the city that she loved so dearly," says Williams.
Sidney Bell Willis was also a member of the NAACP as well as the Top Ladies of Distinction. Her family says her love for Longview was evident in everything she did.
Funeral arrangements for Sidney bell Willis are still being planned.
Before being elected to the city council, she was a teacher at Longview ISD for 43 years.
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