The Photo Request has been fulfilled.

Suggest Edits
 Willard Pershing Graber

Photo added by William

Willard Pershing Graber

  • Birth 6 Aug 1918 Cooperstown, Griggs County, North Dakota, USA
  • Death 11 Jul 1988 Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA
  • Burial Westminster, Orange County, California, USA
  • Memorial ID 13445060

Willard Pershing Graber was born on the 6 August 1918 the tenth child of Kit Carson Graber (1875-1962) and Iva Mae McKeehan (1879-1950), in Cooperstown, Griggs Co., North Dakota.

In 1936, Willard, along with his parents and some of his siblings, left North Dakota came to live in Linn Co., Oregon. In 1937, he enlisted in the Oregon National Guard and was assigned to the 249th Coast Artillery Regiment. After serving three years on a part-time basis, Willard was honorably discharged at the rank of Private First Class in 1940.

On August 30, 1941, Willard married Mae Hauser (1923-1989), the daughter of Leroy Houser (1886-1963) and Eunice Rutledge (1897-1971), in Vancouver, Clark Co., Washington. Although their marriage ended in divorce in 1945, Willard and Mae had one son together, Roger Victor Graber (1942-1997), who was later adopted by Mae's second husband.

On the 8 October 1943, Willard enlisted into the Army Air Corps at the rank of Private. Most of his service during WWII was spent in training to be a Pilot, first at the College Training Detachment at George Peabody College, then at Carlstrom Field in Arcadia, Florida. Because the Army Air Corps had enough pilots, many Pilot training programs were closed. Willard was sent to the Las Vegas Aerial Gunnery School, where he trained to be an Aerial Gunner. He was eventually sent to Harlingen Army Air Field in Texas, where he completed his service as a Supply Clerk. He was discharged in 1945 at the rank of Private First Class (PFC).

On the 13 December 1947, he married Alice Lucretia (Wellin) Lapham (1916-1985), the daughter of William Percy Wellin (1895-1977) and Lois Beatrice Agee (1897-1983), in Portland, Oregon. Following their marriage, they lived in the Portland area, as well as in Albany, where Willard helped raise Alice's three daughters from her previous marriage: Gloria, Margaret, and Jacqueline. They also had two daughters together: Sharolyn Iva Graber (1948-1970) and Marla Jean Graber (1952-2007). While in Oregon, Willard worked as a Fireman for the Milwaukie Fire Department; and as a contractor building homes.

In about 1962, Willard and Alice moved to Westminster, California. There Willard worked as a Quality Control Inspector in the Machinist industry, owning and operating Graber Engineering for a while. In 1985, Willard's beloved wife, Alice, passed away. On the 11 February 1987, he married Dorothy Gertrude (Prescher) Hastings in Los Vegas, Clark Co., Nevada. Willard passed away on the 11 July 1988, nearly three years after Alice. He was buried beside her in Westminster Memorial Park.


Family Members


  • Created by: William
  • Added: 26 Feb 2006
  • Find A Grave Memorial 13445060
  • Long Ago and Yesterday
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Willard Pershing Graber (6 Aug 1918–11 Jul 1988), Find A Grave Memorial no. 13445060, citing Westminster Memorial Park, Westminster, Orange County, California, USA ; Maintained by William (contributor 46827275) .