John Eliot Wills, Jr. (1936–2017), known to his students and friends as Jack, was a pioneer in historical scholarship, whose contributions have touched many fields and subfields, most notably global history and Chinese history. Long before global history existed as a research field, he was already focused on the maritime interactions that have become one of global historians’ key obsessions. His work is exceptional for its ability to understand global encounters in human terms, and for prose that brings those exchanges alive.