Written by Willard Williams and R. Merril. One in a collection by Allen Bachoroski, Local Historical Writer and author of “Tales Along the Highway of Legends”
Merrill, the first boy in the family, was called Buddy, a pet name given by the family, until birth of a second boy four years later. At age of 7, he acquired his first carpenter tools and began learning how to use them. He soon developed a considerable talent in their use. Later as a teenager he was able to help the family by making a number of improvements on their home. At 14 years of age he accepted the Lord in his life and later became the leader of the young people at their church in Branson, Colorado.
Merrill graduated from college in Trinidad in 1938 and attended Western State College in Gunnison and South Western College at Fort Worth, now at Wazahachie, Texas. Merrill married Emily Strickland and moved in 1941 to Burbank, California. There, after the war started, he enlisted in the Air Force and after intensive training was sent as an aircraft maintenance instructor to the Air Force training center at Lockheed on P-38, B-17, B-34, and C-69 aircraft. At the War’s end he entered the aircraft and electronics industries.
They raised three daughters: Merryllyn, Janeice and Melissa; a son died at birth. They are now retired and continue to living in their home at Burbank. They now have been married 49 years. Merrill enjoys caring for his citrus trees, family genealogy and history research. He has a large religious library collection and is an astute Bible scholar.
Clara Mae as a very small child was happiest when playing house with her dolls, buggy, little broom and wearing her little apron. She did indeed become a loving wife and mother. She married John (Pete) Lee and they raised six children: Betty, Dorie, Gary, Terried, Beth Allen and Robbie, a well cared for family.
Pete was engaged in an automotive repair business in San Bernadino, California. He passed away in 1975. Clara Mae continues to live in her beautiful home in Rialto, California and has done well as a business lady in the family business. She loves to host her family and friends and is an excellent cook of delicious dishes she enjoys preparing. She also is Talented and skilled in sewing; her mother always appreciated her beautiful work. She still loves the Lord and is friendly to all.
Williard as a young child expressed talent in various fields: wood carving, oil painting, music, and collecting memorabilia. He continues today his wood carving. He has a vast collection of antiques: furniture, watches, clocks, horse statues and other things. He also enjoys caring for his various citrus trees.
He moved to California in 1941 and after W.W.II began entered the U. S. Navy. He served on board the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Kassan Bay C.V.E.69 as an aviation ordnance technician in the South Pacific. After the war Williard married Phyllis Baldassarre. Mildred, his mother, suggested they write their story of how they met and send it to the then popular “Bride and Groom” program in Hollywood, California. They were chosen and were married on the national radio program.
Willard was in the milk business for 20 years and had a drive-in dairy part of that time. They raised two daughters: Kathy and Priscilla. They also raised the Appaloosa and Quarter Horse breads. Willard still loves horses.
He has today retired from General Motors and they lived in their beautiful home at Westminster, California. Phyllis continues to work as manager of National Growers, wholesale nursery. He continues to enjoy merchandising and his other hobbies. He accepted the Lord about 11 years of age and remains steadfast now.
Gladys Mildred, the seventh child, died as a baby only five and a half months old, in September, 1925. She is buried in the Mountain View Cemetery at Branson, Colorado. All the Williams children are still living and today all have grandchildren.
Note: Share your Family Photos. If you have Photos of this family or know of anyone that does, please have them get in touch with us so that we might share some photos of the family here.