Lavilla Willett


Lavilla M. Willett, 94, died on Sunday, June 18, 2017.

She was born on Jan. 7, 1923, in Mitchell to Fred and Edna (Hall) Carlile. Lavilla was raised in Kadoka, graduating as Valedictorian from Kadoka High School in 1940. She attended Dakota Wesleyan University.

On Feb. 21, 1943, she married Leonard Willett in Brookings. After Leonard returned from serving in the US Army, they lived in Aberdeen for six years raising their three little boys. In 1951, they moved to California where a little girl was added to the family. Lavilla was a devoted wife and mother who loved her family and enjoyed working with children. After 30 years in the San Diego area, they retired to the Black Hills in 1981.

Lavilla was active in many organizations in Hill City including The Little White Church, the Senior Center, the Garden Club, American Legion Auxiliary, Friends of the Library and Story Hour at the Hill City Library, Bridge Club and Toastmasters.

She is survived by her children, Leonard G. (Deanna) Willett, Aroda, VA, Jeff (Kathy) Willett, Rochford, and Cindy (Tom) Dusing, Keystone; eight grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren; and a great-great-granddaughter.

Lavilla was preceeded in death by her husband, Leonard; a son, Lavern; two brothers; and two sisters.

Memorial services will be at 3 p.m. Saturday, June 24, at the Little White Church in Hill City. A private interment will be held at Black Hill National Cemetery near Sturgis.

A memorial has been established to the Little White Church Building Fund.

Her online guestbook is available to sign at