Garrett Lear, affectionately known across America and parts of the world as The Patriot Pastor, died at his home in Sanbornville, NH on January 25, 2021 (where he had lived for 16 years) with his loving and devoted wife Kathi at his side.
He was born Joseph Albert Wills II on July 22, 1948 in Boston MA, the first and only son of Albert W. Wills and Shirley Viano Wills. Most of his early years were spent in Lexington, MA and North Hampton, NH. He was predeceased by his parents and his younger and only sibling Susan Ruth Mesterhazy who died in 2018.
He attended Lexington Schools until he was inducted in the corps of cadets at Valley Forge Military Academy, Wayne, PA in 1965, graduating with honors in 1967. He was a member of The National Honor Society and various other scholarly and sports societies while there. He was a member of the Anthony Wayne Legion Honor Guard being #1 in the standing. He was chapel vestry and sang in the choir.
Garrett graduated from Vanderbilt University with a BA in 1971, where he was active in sports, fraternity life (Delta Kappa Epsilon - DKE), a campus student leader and a well-recognized media personality in Nashville.
He served in the US Army and was discharged with an honorable medical discharge from the officer corps at Fort Bragg, N.C. ending his intentions for an Army career with the 82nd Airborne.
He moved to California in 1971 and continued in the entertainment and media industry (adopting the professional name Garrett Lear) while attending various Christian ministry schools, becoming ordained in 1973.
In 1975 he moved to Maui Hawaii where he was an avid hunter, fisherman, SCUBA diving instructor and tour guide. There he married his first wife (now deceased) Annette Villaren with whom he had 4 children (1 deceased) and 3 foster children.
In 1980 Garrett began full-time Christian ministry, launching The Well of Living Water Christian Ministries and Fellowship. He graduated from Project 714 and ministered in jails, rehabilitation centers and schools all over America, especially Teen Challenge. He had many spiritual sons and daughters and was an adviser and mentor to people from all walks of life, particularly leaders in government, medicine, and education.
He traveled extensively holding services, including Gospel and patriotic music concerts in all 50 American states, in most of the provinces of Canada and some in Eastern Europe. He pastored churches in Alaska, Hawaii, California and New Hampshire as well as being interim pastor in many locations including Ft. Nelson, British Columbia.
He hosted a well-received radio program, “Water From The Well” that aired on a variety of stations; he was a popular guest on radio and TV programs, and published dozens of articles in a variety of publications. His radio broadcast even reached into Siberia in 1987. He was known as a person with a passionate and well-articulated Biblical worldview and over the years amassed an extensive personal library, of which he was very proud.
In 1992 Garrett founded The Patriot Pastor and The Heroes of American Liberty - The Black Robed Regiment for the 20th Century. He was one of the early pioneers in the Home School Movement, the Tea Party Movement, and We The People. He was one of the founders of The New Hampshire Alliance, Cornerstone Policy Research, National Day of Prayer, The Presidential Prayer Team, Calling All Mayflower Descendants, Pastor’s Prayer Summit, Micro-Farmers of New Hampshire and a familiar figure in various parades.
He was an officer of The National Society Sons of The American Revolution, serving on the National Chaplain’s Committee and holding various officer positions with the Massachusetts and New Hampshire Societies where he was highly decorated, having been awarded the Patriot Medal and the Roger Sherman award with oak leaf cluster. He also served on the Henry Knox Color Guard for the Massachusetts Society. He was inducted in The Lexington Minutemen in 2016.
He was a member and instructor of National Heritage Center for Constitutional Studies, third generation Member of The American Legion, member of and/or active in the Bunker Hill Monument Association, New England Genealogical Society, NH Historical Society, All Things Mayflower, Hampton Rod & Gun Club, White Birch Armory, NRA, NH Coalition of Gun Owners, Camp Constitution, Seacoast Prolife Network, Options for Women, NH Right to Life, March for Life, March for Jesus, Full Gospel Men’s Fellowship International, Women Aglow International, Promise Keepers and Oath Keepers. He received the Father O’Connor award, a lifetime achievement award by NH Right to Life. As a board member for Lokahi Pacific Corporation, he was presented with the Golden Gavel Award, and he graduated in California from The PACE (personal and company effective program).
At various times, Garrett was ordained by different Christian denominations and accepted for ministry in dozens of Christian retreat centers. In 1981 and 1982 he received degrees in Pastoral Counseling and Doctor of Divinity from The Gospel Ministry Institute in California.
In 1995, he received an Award of Sincere Appreciation from the congregation he pastored in North Hampton, NH, also Family Research Council’s Watchman on The Wall Award in 1996, Daughters of The American Revolution Multimedia Services Award 2010, Hampton Rod & Gun Club 2012 Special Recognition Award, The National Center for Constitutional Studies Loyalty Award 2007, and several awards from numerous Rotary Clubs. Garrett was also Honorary Founder of 2 Timothy 3:15 Boy Scout Troop. Regardless of the many awards he was given, serving was Garrett’s greatest joy. What meant the most to him were the cards and letters he received from men, women and children thanking him for helping them with various life situations.
His final reflections included, “I have lived a life that most people can only dream of or see in a magazine; it has been a very full life and I have no complaints. Being a servant of King Jesus in service to His people has been my passion and joy”. His favorite scripture was Acts 17:28.
A Homegoing Service was held on February 6, 2021 at 2 p.m., Community Church of Alton, 20 Church St., Alton, NH 03809. The service is available via YouTube here. You can also go to www.ccoaalton.com, scroll down to click the link in the middle of the page ‘CCOA YOUTUBE CHANNEL’ and you’ll be redirected.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to The Well of Living Water Christian Ministries & Fellowship, 66 Buttercup Lane, Wakefield, NH 03872 so that the Lord’s work that Garrett began nearly 50 years ago and meant so much to him may continue and grow.
Patriot Pastor Garrett Lear AKA Joseph Albert Wills II
July 22, 1948 A.D. – January 25, 2021 A.D.