Eldon Willis

(1908 - 1981) Stacy, NC

Eldon Willis was born and raised in the community of Stacy, North Carolina. Stacy, in an earlier era, was home to more active decoy carvers than any other location in Core Sound, Carteret County. It is reported that there were at least thirty active decoy carvers operating in Stacy at a time when the community had a total population of three hundred residents. Stacy carvers supplied many of the hunters drawn to the area. Willis was one of the most productive carvers turning out finely carved decoys working alone and with occasional partners.

In the 1920’s Willis joined with Elmer Stalter (1902 – 1964) to form a successful carving partnership which lasted until Stalter’s death. Following Stalter’s death, Willis’ son, Roy, teamed with his father to produce many “topnotch” decoys. Willis and his son are credited with producing a number of waterfowl decoys, including pintail (locally known as “sprig tail”), red heads, Canada geese, brant, lesser scaup (locally known as “black heads”), common hooded and red-breasted mergansers (locally known as ”fishing ducks”), buffleheads, ruddy ducks and some species of shorebirds. Eldon Willis produced decoys of high quality and is ranked among the finest of the Stacy carvers.

For additional information

Carteret Waterfowl Heritage, 1993 by Jack Dudley.

Decoy Magazine, Sept/Oct. 1996.

Waterfowl Heritage: North Carolina Decoys and Gunning Lore, 1983 by William N. Conoley.

The Great Book of Waterfowl Decoys, 1990 by Joe Engers, Ed.

Southern Decoys of Virginia and the Carolinas, 1983 by Henry A. Fleckenstein.