Mayor Jay Willis

Mayor Jay Willis is a retired local dentist, long-time civic leader, and small business owner.

An active and collaborative community leader, he serves on the Board of Directors for Merchants & Marine Bank and has served on the Board of Directors for the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce, the Gulf Coast Community Foundation, the University of Mississippi Alumni Association, and United Way for Jackson and George Counties, which he has also led as campaign chairman. He previously served as President of the University of Mississippi School of Dentistry Alumni Association.

A former School Board President of the Pascagoula Municipal School District, Jay served on the school board from 1992 to 2000 and was instrumental in the successful bond issue campaign and subsequent construction of the new Pascagoula and Gautier high schools. 

Jay practiced general dentistry in Pascagoula and Hurley for more than 35 years before retiring to form Willis & Associates, LLC, a small business advising Mississippi dentists and recent dental school graduates in the formation and transition of dental practices. He is a regular guest lecturer at the University of Mississippi School of Dentistry.

Jay is a member of First Presbyterian Church Pascagoula, where he serves as an Elder. He crafts custom engraving for his wife’s business, Johnson Brothers Jewelry Company in Pascagoula, a landmark local business. 

Jay and his wife, the former Debbie Bartlett of Pascagoula, have three daughters: Katherine Willis Swetman, Rachael Willis Ashbaker, and Laura Willis Burrow. They are the proud grandparents of seven grandsons and one granddaughter.