As a proud American, Edd Willoughby loved to tell stories about his experience at Pearl Harbor during World War II.
Mr. Willoughby, 87, joined the Navy in 1940. He served on several ships, including the USS Boreas, the USS Cavalier, the USS Chevalier and the USS Cook.
But it was his time spent on the USS Maryland that was most memorable. On Dec. 7, 1941, Mr. Willoughby was at Pearl Harbor.
"Over the last few years, he talked more and more about it with me," said his son Michael. "He talked about how unreal it was and the devastation."
Mr. Willoughby died Sunday at his home.
While in the Navy, he earned numerous medals for his service, including the medals for American Defense, Asiatic Pacific, Philippines Liberation, World War II Victory, China Service, National Defense, Korean Service and Korean Presidential.
"The sailors that called him Chief felt his respect for them and repaid him with theirs," his son said. "I remember a sailor walking all the way across the shipyard to come to kneel before me to tell me what a great father I had and how lucky he was to work for him."
In 1960, Mr. Willoughby retired as senior chief boilerman and moved to El Dorado, Ark., where he co-owned Willoughby's Garage and was the owner of Willoughby's Texaco service station.
He moved to North Augusta in 1985 and began sharing his Pearl Harbor experience with churches, civic clubs, schools and local media outlets, including The Augusta Chronicle.
"There was a time where I was onboard that ship for nine straight months," Mr. Willoughby said in a May 2001 Chronicle article. "There were some rough days back then. We couldn't make a lot of fresh water, so you only got a shower about every third day. You could take a saltwater shower any time, but it wouldn't do you much good."
Aside from his storytelling, Mr. Willoughby took pleasure in doing repairs.
"The thing he enjoyed most was to fix things for other people," the younger Mr. Willoughby said. "He would come down to my house and fix things. That was his hobby."
A member of First Baptist Church of Belvedere, Mr. Willoughby also served on the Board of Trustees and was a member of Whatley Sunday School Class, Golden Age Club and Home Bound Ministries.
Memorial services will be held at 11 a.m. today at First Baptist Church of Belvedere with the Revs. John Meyer and Daniel Munn officiating. Interment with full military honors will follow in Westover Memorial Park.
"Everyone thinks of his father as a great man, and I am no exception," Michael Willoughby said. "He loved being alive. He lived as though he would live forever."
Reach Amy Connell at (706) 823-3220 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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