WILLIS, Timothy J. After a brief illness, in Dorchester, died January 11, 2019, age 38 years.
Though he was born in Boston, chef Timothy Willis grew up in New Jersey, just outside of Philadelphia. He spent most of his summers at the Jersey shore with his family and friends. Tim's love for fresh local produce started with tending to his grandparent's gardens.
In high school, he spent two years in a culinary arts program. While in vocational school, he had the opportunity to stage and work for the renowned chef, George Perrier at Le Bec Fin, where he was able to see a four-star restaurant in full swing. During those high school years, Tim got his first real job as a cook at Ron Jaworski's Eagles Nest.
After high school, Tim headed to Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island to pursue his career as a chef. While in school, he worked at many of Providence's fine Italian restaurants including Bella Vista and Capriccio.
His first internship, part of the Johnson & Wales program, was with Marriott where he was part of the opening team of the Ritz Carlton in Philadelphia. During that stint, he participated in catering a party for the mid-Atlantic Emmy's. His second internship was with Jasper White's Summer Shack during their opening at Mohegan Sun resort and casino in Connecticut.
Tim loved the concept of the Summer Shack, where the motto is "food is love" and all the food was prepared simply, from scratch, using the best quality seafood and local produce. He flourished in this environment and after starting as a Grill Cook, he worked his way to Sous Chef at the Mohegan Sun location.
Tim moved back to Boston to become the Executive Chef of the original Summer Shack in Cambridge, where he oversaw the food operations for the restaurants.
Most recently, Tim was the Culinary Director of The Lyons Group where he oversaw the multiple kitchens of the restaurant group.
He was the beloved husband of Martha A. (Lopez) Willis and a devoted and loving father of Maizy Claire Willis.
Son of Daniel S. Willis of Norwood and the late Mary Ellen (Hazelton) Willis.
Brother of Christopher S. Willis of Winthrop.
Son-in-law of Carlos and Mary Alice Lopez of Norwood.
Brother-in-law of Diana O'Hare, Carla Lopez, and Carlos Lopez.
Uncle of Maggie, Joshua, Ryan, and Matthew Willis, Louis, Benjamin, and Lydia Lopez, and Sebastian and Luca O'Hare.
Survived by many aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends.
Family and friends will honor and remember Tim's life by gathering for visiting hours in the Murphy Funeral Home, 1020 Dorchester Avenue, DORCHESTER, on Wednesday, January 16th from 4-8 P.M.
His Funeral Mass will be celebrated in St. Margaret Church of St. Teresa of Calcutta Parish, 800 Columbia Road, Dorchester, on Thursday morning, January 17th at 10 A.M.
Burial will follow in Cedar Grove Cemetery, Dorchester.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Tim's memory may be made to the Mary Ann Brett Food Pantry, 800 Columbia Rd., Dorchester, MA 02125, or to a GoFundMe page set up for the benefit of his daughter Maizy, www.gofundme.com/in-memory-of-tim-willis.