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Jess Myron Willard
Birth: Dec. 29, 1881
Saint Clere
Pottawatomie County
Kansas, USA
Death: Dec. 15, 1968
Los Angeles
Los Angeles County
California, USA

Boxer. Heavyweight Champion of the World 1915-1919. Jess "The Pottawatomie Giant" Willard was born on December 29, 1881 the youngest of 4 brothers. In his youth he worked in the livery stable business then started boxing in 1911. Willard used his height of 6 feet 6 inches tall to full advantage working behind a stiff jab. He progressed steadily through the ranks defeating the likes of Jack Moran, Frank Bauer and Ed Smith. On April 5, 1915 Willard faced Heavyweight Champion Jack Johnson on a sweltering day in Havana, Cuba and scored a 26th round knockout. Willard mostly fought exhibitions over 4 years time but did defend his title once over Frank Moran. On July 4, 1919 he faced Jack Dempsey on a sweltering day in Toledo, Ohio. Bobbing and weaving, Dempsey closed the gap on the much taller Willard and knocked him down 7 times in the first round. The carnage continued for 2 more rounds until the fight was stopped because Willard couldnt answer the bell for the fourth round. Although Willard lost the title he was praised for showing tremendous courage against the Dempsey onslaught. Willard would continue to box mostly exhibitions for several more years and finally retired from boxing in 1926 with a record of 28-6-1 with 21 knockouts. He then dabbled in many ventures afterwards including refereeing wrestling matches and performing with the USO. Willard died on December 15, 1968. In 2003, Willard was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.  
 
Family links: 
 Parents:
  Myron B. Willard (1844 - 1881)
  Margaret Bell Bailey Willard (1850 - 1908)
 
 Spouse:
  Harriet Bailey Evans Willard (1885 - 1970)*
 
 Siblings:
  Infant Stalker (____ - 1894)**
  Marion L. Willard (1869 - 1958)*
  Jess Myron Willard (1881 - 1968)
 
*Calculated relationship
**Half-sibling

Cause of death: Cerebral hemorrage
 
Burial:
Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Hollywood Hills)
Los Angeles
Los Angeles County
California, USA
Plot: Homeward, Lot 3859, Space 3
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Record added: Jan 01, 2001
Find A Grave Memorial# 1107
Jess Myron Willard
Added by: Ron Moody
 
Jess Myron Willard
Added by: A.J. Marik
 
Jess Myron Willard
Added by: A.J. Marik
 
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- Cindy
 Added: Dec. 29, 2015

- Cindy
 Added: Dec. 15, 2015
It's been 100 years since you won the heavyweight title. You are still remembered.
- John Robertson
 Added: Apr. 7, 2015
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