Aug. 30, 1912 - April 16, 2010
Willard L. Wilson, 4700 Savannah Dr., Boise, formerly of Milton-Freewater, passed away April 16, 2010, at a care center in Boise, at the age of 97 years. Funeral services will be Thursday, April 22, 2010, at 10:30 a.m. at Munselle-Rhodes Funeral Home in Milton-Freewater with Pastor Ole Olesen of the Milton Seventh-day Adventist Church officiating. Concluding services and interment will be at Mount Hope Cemetery in College Place. Memorial contributions may be made to Alzheimer's Research or any Seventh-day Adventist Association through the funeral home.
Mr. Wilson was born August 30, 1912, in Rector, Mo., the son of Grover C. and Martha A. Terrill Wilson. After completing the 10th grade, he moved with his family to Winona, Mo., where he graduated from Eminence High School. He was a renaissance man, working in his family's business, teaching, logging, riding the rails and volunteering with the Civilian Conservation Corps to reforest America. Baseball was a lifelong passion. He spent free time playing league ball, where he met "the most beautiful woman he'd ever seen," Inis Rebecca Bunch. The couple were married Oct. 19, 1940, and moved to Granite City, Ill., where he worked in the steel mills until enlisting in the U.S. Army during World War II. He was granted a two-week stay for the birth of a daughter, Melba Dec. 7, 1942, and to move his family to Winona. Mr. Wilson completed basic training and deployed with the 135th Medical Regiment, Co. C. in early 1943. He served as a medic in Australia, the Philippines and New Guinea. He was offered Sergeant stripes to re-enlist and go to Japan, but he couldn't wait to return home. After the birth of his second daughter, Wanda Lee, in March of 1947, at which time he moved his family to College Place. He enjoyed family treks outdoors, visiting parks, skiing and hiking in the mountains, teaching his daughters to play ball and ride bicycles. Nieces, nephews, grandchildren and great-grandchildren enjoyed tossing the ball with him. He never lost his Missourah blood and traveled to the Ozark River country nearly every summer to visit family, swim, float or shoot fireworks over the Current River.
He and his wife joined the Seventh-day Adventist Church early in their marriage and faithfully served in College Place and Milton-Freewater churches. He attended Walla Walla College, leaving because he wouldn't be confined. Mr. Wilson was an independent truck driver and had a timber business. The couple celebrated 51 years of marriage prior to her death. In 1992 he married Irene Blehm in Walla Walla. The couple enjoyed trips to Missouri and visiting Irene's family at the Oregon coast. She preceded him in death in 2006. Shortly after her death he moved to a Boise care center to be closer to his daughter and late son-in-law. On his 93rd birthday, during a televised ballgame, the announcers with the Seattle Mariners wished him a happy birthday and delivered a card and ball cap to him.
He is survived by two daughters, Melba Bentley of Boise, Wanda Troupe of Union, Wash.; two step-sons and their wives, James and Carol Blehm of Milton-Freewater, Richard and Sandra Blehm of Mulino, Ore.; a sister and brother-in-law, Frankie and Paul Brake of St. Louis; grandchildren, Jeff Bentley, Chad Johnson, Nick and Gina Bentley-Nehrhood, Tina Nehrhood; great-grandchildren Samantha, Leticia, Derek, Cherish, Joshua, and Elizabeth, and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by a sister Marjorie Giammanco.