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Willie L. Leftwich

Willie L. Leftwich was born on June 28, 1937, in Washington, D.C.

He earned a B.S. in electrical engineering from Howard University and then a J.D. and LL.D. from George Washington University.

Mr. Leftwich served as an ordnance officer with the First Cavalry Division in Korea. Early in his career, Willie used his skills as an engineer in several high-profile government aerospace projects. He worked as a research aeronautical instrumentation engineer for NASA, helping to design a gantry-timing device for the Blue Scout Rocket and helping to develop missile trajectory systems. He also worked with the Naval Air Systems Command as a research electro-optical engineer, developing air-to-surface sensors for Navy and Marine Corps aircraft.

After 1968, Mr. Leftwich began his legal career. He started as a patent attorney for the Federal Aviation Administration before spending a year as vice president and general counsel for Technical Media Systems. While working as a professor at both the University of the District of Columbia and George Washington University School of Law, Mr. Leftwich became a founding partner in Hudson Leftwich & Davenport. In 1985, Mr. Leftwich became counsel and founding partner of Leftwich Moore & Douglas, where he engaged in a general commercial practice.

Mr. Leftwich retired from the practice of law in 1996 when he was diagnosed with cancer. He initially started making pottery as therapy during his stressful chemo treatments but the art of pottery quickly became his life’s work and an abiding passion. In typical fashion, Mr. Leftwich delved deep into his craft, and after years of practice, study and determination, he became a respected potter. He studied many styles, shapes, and methods before mastering his own craft focusing on wood-fired ceramics.

In 2008, Mr. Leftwich suffered a massive stoke that left him unable to speak or walk. Through perseverance and grit, he has not only learned to speak and walk again but has also started to make pottery again. After his stroke, Mr. Leftwich committed himself to helping others trapped by the damaging effects of strokes. He established Willie’s Way Inc., a nonprofit corporation, to assist stroke patients and their families.