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Willard L. DeClue Family Info

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the life of Willard L. DeClue (senior)    by Tom DeClue

    Willard L DeClue the senior was born on Jan 30, 1903 in Potosi, MO. Our family, as are most DeClue's, has its ties to the Duclos descendents who settled originally in Ste. Genevieve, Missouri.  A quick search on DeClue in any people finder will show that most of the DeClue's in the United States still reside in this region.

    Willard's mother died when he was 4 years old and he was raised by his stepmother and father, but due to a difficult relationship with the stepmother he left home in Potosi at the age of 17 to join the Navy.  He served shortly after the end of WW1.  He related many navy stories to me during the years 1971-1976 when I lived with them while going to college.  Although it has been many years, I still recall a couple of the stories described below.

            On one occasion while serving on the battleship USS Wyoming the crew was paid in gold coin because the ships Treasurer had run out of paper currency while overseas.  This must have been one of the last times an American was paid in gold since President Wilson created the Federal Reserve System shortly after this.

            On another occasion the ship's Captain turned out to have a "Captain Bligh's" leadership style.  The demands, schedules, and lack of shore leave took its toll on the crew and so they conspired to make a statement to the Captain's superiors when they returned to their home port.  They would all shave their heads!  Well, it just so happened that Willard was separating from the Navy and planning to get married shortly after their arrival, so the rest of the crew spared him the haircut.  The bald heads got the attention they wanted and that was the last ship that "Capt. Bligh" would command.

    Willard married Grace, who also was from Potosi and who he knew before enlisting in the Navy.  He was also helped in obtaining a higher education by a relative.  This relative paid for Willard to go back to school and obtain a degree in accounting.  He then went to work for the Armour Star Company.  His work with the Armour Star Co. took him to Detroit, MI.  It was in nearby Highland Park, MI where Willard Jr. and Joseph were born.  He was then transferred to Lakewood Ohio where Robert was born in 1934. Willard was transferred to Boston, MA in 1942.  The three boys later got married in the Boston area and this is where their families took root.

    In 1959 Willard was transferred again, this time to Williamsport, PA.  They were in Williamsport for perhaps 4 years when he was transferred again to Sheboygan, WI.  Willard retired out of Sheboygan as a credit manager for the leather division of Armour Star Co in 1967.

     At retirement, Willard and Grace decided to move to the Red Rock country of Sedona, AZ.  They had an  adobe brick home built in the Sedona West subdivision (107 Mogollon Dr) with spectacular views of the Mogollon Rim and the Coffee Pot rock formation.  While I was in High School, they offered me the opportunity to stay with them in Sedona if I wanted to attend Northern Arizona Univ.  In 1971 I was accepted to Northern Arizona University (NAU) and I chose to take them up on their offer.   I attended NAU from 1971 to 1975, and lived in their home as a freshman and sophomore.  In 1973 I received a ROTC scholarship which allowed me to move onto campus.  I graduated from NAU in 1975 and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the USAF through NAU campus ROTC, Detachment 27.

    Due to failing health in 1990 Willard and Grace sold their Sedona home and moved into an assisted living facility in Cottonwood, AZ.  This arrangement however, was not to their liking and they moved in with their son Joseph in Orange County California about a year later.  Following a surgery in 1993, Willard's health began to deteriorate rapidly and he died on December 12th of that year.  In 1993 Grace fell and broke a hip.  As a consequence, her medical condition was more then Joe and Marge could manage and Grace moved into an assisted living home where she could receive the care she required.  Grace died rather suddenly in January 1998.  Both Willard and Grace are interred in the Potosi, MO cemetery.

Tom DeClue                                   WL DeClue Streamlined Family Tree Link

ps. if you've read this far, and you want to see a more detailed W.L. DeClue family tree  you may access it manually.  To provide  privacy protections from the auto web search engines, I do not have a link.  However, if you type or cut/paste into your web browsers address line: "www.declue.org/DeClue_tree_a/wl_declue_tree_a.htm" you will be taken to our family's tree.  

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