HAGER CITY, Wis. | Willard Charles Greene, 95, went to be with the Lord on Oct. 30, 2018, due to multiple health complications. He was born June 25, 1923, to Lester and Grace (Sanford) Greene.
Willard was united in marriage to Ruth (Lombard) on Aug. 25, 1950. She was the love of his life for 68 years. They were blessed with four children: Sandra, Mary, Audrey and Mark. Willard grew up in La Farge, WI, where he attended school. During his last few months of high school, he filled in as a band director. Following graduation from high school, he went to La Crosse Vocational School to acquire education and skills as a machinist. His first job was at Rock Island Arsenal as a machinist.
On Feb. 6, 1943, he was drafted into the U.S. Army. He was assigned to the 88th Infantry Division, called the Blue Devil Division, and served as a Rifle-Marksman. His military deployment took him to Anzio and Cassino, Italy. While in Minturno, Italy, Willard sustained two combat injuries. As a result of these injuries he was transferred to Schick General Hospital in Clinton, IA, for about six months. For his service he was awarded two Purple Hearts, Croix de Guerre, Combat Infantryman Badge, Cross of Lorraine, Bronze Star, Meritorious Unit Emblem, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, WWII Victory Medal, Honorable Service Lapel Medal, and Medaille Commemorative de la Campaign d’ Italie. He worked at Tomah VA Hospital, Camp McCoy as a Technical Instructor and then transferred to La Farge Post Office as a Rural Mail Carrier. After 30 years of civil service, Willard had to retire on disability because of his war-related injuries.
The family enjoyed taking vacations to the western states in the summer and to Florida in the winter. Willard enjoyed many hobbies after retirement including clock repair, fishing, hunting, woodworking and water skiing. Being active in church he served on the board, drove bus and played guitar in the orchestra. They spent 10 winters in Florida near Audrey and family. Willard and Ruth moved to Rapid City, SD, in 1985 and enjoyed living there very much. They returned to Wisconsin in 2006, settling near Hager City.
On Sept. 22, 2012, he went on the “Freedom Honor Flight” to Washington, DC, with his son Mark as “Guardian” to visit the war memorials. This was a special day!
Willard leaves behind his wife, Ruth, four children, 13 grandchildren, 22 great-grandchildren, many nieces and nephews, and a cousin, Harold Green. He was preceded in death by his parents and two brothers, Theron and LaVerne Green.
Visitation will be from 5-7 p.m. CST on Friday, Nov. 9, at the O’Connell-Benedict Funeral Home, 130 N. Grant St., in Ellsworth, WI, and one hour prior to services at the church.
A Funeral Celebration of Life will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 10, at the Valley View Assembly of God, 305 W. Grant St., in Lake City, MN. Willard will be buried at the Trenton Cemetery in Hager City, WI, with full military honors.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to missions through Valley View Assembly of God, 305 W. Grant Street, Lake City, MN 55041.
Services entrusted to the O’Connell-Benedict Family Funeral Home of Ellsworth, WI 54011, 715-273-4421 (oconnellbenedict.com).