Five more years and he would have been 100. Born in April of 1917 he was a middle child, the only boy and very spoiled..by his older sister and his Grandmother.
This photo was taken about 1920. That is Far Guy’s Mom with her baby brother. The baby brother that told us “ When it was time to come in for supper, Ma would send Evelyn after me, I would run away from her until she finally caught me and sat on top of me until Ma got there.”
His Grandma Martha Abbott was afraid of thunderstorms, they had a stone well house, she would take the kids there during a thunderstorm because she knew it would not blow down. His Grandma Abbott lived with them. He told me" “My Grandma was a fierce protector, I could do no wrong in her eyes. She saved me from lots of whippings.” He also told me the day and the year that she died…I didn’t write it down but I believe he was 16 years old when she died. His Grandpa William Abbott died before he was born.
He was the son of a farmer. They had Jersey cows and 18 to 20 ewes. Bill Blourt had a sheep shearing crew. They had a gasoline engine that turned the clippers. They would pack the wool in a box and took it to the wool buyer in Park Rapids. There is a special way to butcher a lamb not touching the wool. Ed Klarer knew how, he used clean cloths like dish towels to hold the wool away and then you cut down through the skin. You always cut the tallow out of sheep meat..if you don’t when you cook it that tallow will stick to the inside of your mouth.
They had 24 milk cows in the barn and room for young stock and calf pens in the barn. Then the war started. Before he left for Omaha he got a milking machine for his Dad and a well in the barn, he also saw to it that Alvin Wicks was hired to help at the farm.
He moved to Omaha. He moved in with his sister and her husband ( Far Guy’s parents) They lived near Spring Lake Park Golf Course. He and Far Guy’s Dad worked at Fort Cook Military Reservation for the duration of the war.
He worked on the B-26 Marauder in the Martin Plant. The “A” model B 26 all went to Russia. Hitler was pounding the hell out of Russia. The “B” model all went to the Army Air Corps. The modification center moved more planes through than the factory. The first big modification job was a B 25 they were missile bombers made in Burbank California. The planes were stacked up outside sometimes there would be 40 acres of planes just setting there ready to run through modifications. We put more guns on them..50 caliber and a 75 mm cannon out the nose of the airplane. These were used in the Pacific and Western Europe..they would wreck a railroad..they blew up Hitler’s trains. They would fly right down a track and hit a locomotive. They would take the 50 caliber and shoot right into the railroad cars..they blew up!
Willard was a story teller. He used to call me up and talk for hours about the old days.
He drew the plans for his parents new house on the farm. The window that jutted out to the east was a place for his mother to grow her flowers and a cold storage room for canned goods in the basement.
He married Louise and they had seven children. A few months ago he said “Do I know you?” She replied “Well you better we had seven children together!”
The past few months his health and memory were failing. The last few days he has been out cutting wood. On Thursday morning he said “I am too tired to cut wood today.”
Willard, Marie and Evelyn photo taken around 1921
He joins his sisters in heaven.
Uncle Willard and his oldest son “Alaska Guy”..one day last winter when his old tractor was driven around and around the parking lot. He had a really good time that day!
It is the end of an era, but the celebration of a life well lived. Four score and fifteen…:)