In the 20s, 30s, & 40s, Mormon missionaries roamed the paths and shoreline of Harkers Island freely, spending their time at the homes of the various Latter-day families. By then a second generation of members was reaching its adolescence including several dozen young "Mormon girls" who couldn't help but notice the handsome young visitors from the west. Not only did they speak with a "funny accent," but those young elders were always dressed in store-bought suits, with clean shaven faces and well trimmed hair.
One afternoon, hearing her daughters and their friends talk about the two elders who then were serving at the Island, Gertie Willis decided to chime in on the conversation. Specifically she had noticed that each of the young girls had chosen a recent visiting missionary to label as the " handsomest man she had ever seen! "
After each of the girls had described in detail their choice and why he was chosen, Gertie decided to end the conversation with her own definitive choice of the handsomest man she had ever seen.
"Every afternoon, just before supper I look towards the Landing, and eventually I see a tired, often wet and sandy fisherman walking this way, usually with his worn out pants rolled up to below the knee, and smelling like fish. But even from a distance, and especially when he grabs me by the shoulders and kisses my forehead, your daddy, Telford Willis, is the handsomest man who ever lived!"