Wednesday, June 6, 2012

William Henry House 1908-2007

William Henry House, son of the late Henry Alexander and Laura Bell (Murphy) House, was born on July 15, 1908 in Bonne Terre, Missouri. When Bill was 15 years old, he, his parents, three sisters and two brothers traveled from Bonne Terre to make their home in Bisbee, Arizona.

While living in Bisbee, Bill completed an apprentice program sponsored by the Phelps Dodge Mining company and played baseball in the minor leagues for a franchise that was later purchased by the Chicago Cubs. He was privileged to meet one of baseball's greatest players, Babe Ruth.

On October 2, 1938, Bill was united in marriage to Gladys Lorene Rawley in Lordsburg, New Mexico. They shared over 52 years of marriage together and were blessed with two children: Marsha and David. Gladys preceded Bill in death on November 10, 1990.

A few years after their marriage, Bill and Gladys moved to Vallejo, California where he immediately became employed at the Mare Island Navel base. He worked there during WWII where they built 17 submarines, 31 destroyer escorts and more than 300 landing craft. They also set the record for building the USS Ward in 17 days. Bill supervised the construction of submarines, submarine tenders and landing craft. One of the most notable submarines he supervised was the USS Silversides which is now located in Muskegon, Michigan as a museum.

Following WWII, Bill and his family returned to Missouri and he became employed at Fort Leonard Wood. He worked at the Post Engineer Field Maintenance Division and supervised heavy field equipment as well as the construction of the air field during the Vietnam War period.

Bill was a loyal member of the Waynesville United Methodist Church and was an officer in the Waynesville/St. Robert Senior Citizen's Center. Bill was deeply loved by his family and he was a good father and husband who always did the best for his family.

Bill passed away the afternoon of Sunday, February 4, 2007 in his daughter's home at the age of 98 years, 6 months and 19 days.

Bill will be sadly missed, but fondly remembered by one daughter: Marsha Cunningham and her husband, John of Batavia, Illinois; one son: David House and his wife, Debbie of Downer's Grove, Illinois; a nephew: John Nelms, Sr. of Bonne Terre; three nieces: Joan Dean of Tequesta, Florida, Laura DeVilbiss of Bisbee, Arizona and Mary Lee Kurner of Tucson, Arizona; several great and great-great nieces and nephews and other relatives and friends.

Funeral services were held at 11:00 A.M. Friday, February 9, 2007 in the Memorial Chapel of Waynesville/St. Robert with Pastor Londia Granger Wright officiating. Pianist David Lawson played two of Bill's favorite hymns "Amazing Grace" and "I Love To Tell The Story". Serving as escorts were John, Timothy, Ben and Cecil Nelms and Thomas and William Cunningham. Serving as honorary escorts were Donald Mikles, Bill Walters, Byron Eldridge, Kenton Wagner, Eddie Robbins and Keith Pritchard.

Burial followed in the Waynesville Memorial Park Cemetery. Services were under the direction of Memorial Chapel of Waynesville/St. Robert.

Memorial contributions may be made in memory of Bill House to the Waynesville/St. Robert Senior Citizen's Center and the Waynesville United Methodist Church and may be left at Memorial Chapel of Waynesville/St. Robert.

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