Montgomery County Recorder Willis Blackshear Dies After Cancer Battle
Longtime Dayton public servant Willis E. Blackshear has died. He served in the Montgomery County treasurer’s office for 22 years, and as county recorder since 2008.
The 57-year-old Dayton native and graduate of Paul Laurence Dunbar High School died in hospice care on Monday. He was diagnosed with cancer nine months ago, Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley told WYSO.
She says Blackshear really understood the value of public service.
“He was a Dayton guy through and through, he wanted to serve his community as an elected official, I think, the entire time I knew him," she says.
"And, you know, he was the only countywide elected African American. So, I think he had a real understanding of how he was a leader in the community and that people were looking up to him and that he could be an inspiration to other folks in Dayton to serve their community in the future, too.”
The mayor also praised Blackshear for his dedication to, and understanding of, the residents he served and of the city he lived in.
“Willis was somebody that was on the ground and he talked to regular folks, and because of that he had a great understanding of what was going on in the city’s neighborhoods and in the communities,” she says.
Blackshear was reelected as county recorder in 2016. Despite his cancer diagnosis, he continued meeting with staff about administrative details and reviewing the county’s upcoming budget until just a few weeks ago, Whaley recalls.
Blackshear is survived by his wife Regina and son Willis Jr.
You can hear Mayor Whaley's full comments on Blackshear in the interview below.