Roy Webster Willingham, 1914-2002
Juanita Black Rickard
For The Tuscumbian
As each month rolls around, I start thinking of all the birthdays that will occur that month of those who are here and those who have gone on. This month started off with my granddaughter Brooke turning 7, my sister Dottie on the 3rd, my Uncle Jep on the 10th and now time for my Uncle Webb, mothers oldest brother. I was thinking the other day that he would be 100 this year but when I looked he would have been 101.
I have a lot of fond memories of him and I will share some. For one thing when I was probably 3, with mother having bed rest and different people staying with us, when daddy would walk to town for anything he would let me go with him riding my tricycle that Uncle Webb gave him the money to buy for me. He was always a generous person to those he loved.
This is a photo of when he was stationed in Panama during the war. During WWII he was also at Omaha Beach. After coming home from service he was one of the Lock Masters at the first Lock going up the river toward the big lock. I don’t know what year it was taken down but it was just on the other side of the railroad bridge when it was in full operation. After that he was a Lock Master at Wilson Dam until it was reworked in the late 50’s, then he went to Wheeler Dam until Wilson was ready again. We used to go and watch him lock barges and boats through the dam when he was working. He told me once he sometimes made visitors mad when they would come and let kids run wild there at the lock. He knew the danger whether they did or not. After he retired he farmed at little and took life easy. About two years before he died I would drive a lady out to clean his house. I have often said I guess I could have done that but ?i enjoyed sitting there talking to him. He told me things about the Willinghams that I had never heard before. I guess being the oldest in the family he would know. Martha would go with me most of the time and her time was spent making pictures of everything from cows to scarecrows to pretty flowers (weeds). I guess I just needed to reminisce a little, and share some things about a special uncle. He had one son, Roy Marvin, who is gone now. Two stepchildren, June Jones, and Bobby Armstrong, who is also gone. But he he has one brother living, Jack, several grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews of which I am the oldest