RIP David Randolph Willard, Jr (1924-2009)

My grandfather passed away last week after a long battle with cancer. He was the first person I ever knew who had a home computer, a Texas Instruments 99/4A, back in the early 1980’s. He was an avid genealogist, tracking the Willard family many many years.

NEWPORT NEWS – David R. Willard Jr., 84, passed away peacefully Saturday, Jan. 24, 2009, at the home of his son, David R. Willard III (Randy and Judy).

David proudly served his country with the U.S. Navy, during WW II and the Korean War. Civilian employment included loan manager and automotive sales. David was active with Mended Hearts and served for many years as a volunteer at Riverside Regional Medical Center. At an early age, David became an avid reader, acquiring a vast knowledge of the world, becoming quite an educated gentleman. David was a longtime member of Hilton Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Newport News.

David was preceded in death by his loving wife of 48 years, Manila.

David leaves behind to cherish his memories his sons, David R. Willard III (Randy and Judy) of Newport News, Jonathan T. Willard (Betsy) of York County; grandchildren, Michael Clark (Laura) of Woodbridge, Jonathan Clark (Sharon) of New Kent, Kailey Willard, Todd Willard; and great- grandson, Will Clark.

“Grandpa” adored his family, always teaching them integrity and honor. He was proud of his sons and grandchildren, always had a gleam in his eyes whenever they were together and especially enjoyed time spent together around the kitchen table.

David requested a public thank-you to Heather, Elisha, Jen, Dan and Meg of RRMC, for their assistance as he prepared to enter the Hospice Program. The RRMC Hospice Staff and W.J. Smith Funeral Home are to be commended for their assistance during this difficult time.

Along with David, the entire Willard family wishes to offer sincere appreciation to DR. KIMBERLY SCHLESINGER of the Peninsula Cancer Institute for her care, knowledge of treatment, compassion and friendship as we journeyed together in the treatment of our father, grandpa and friend. The true power of love can be felt through an embrace, and we thank you for yours!

A Celebration of Life Memorial Service will be held 4 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 29, at Hilton Christian Church, 100 James River Dr., Newport News with Pastor Terrye Williams officiating. All are invited to a reception in the Fellowship Hall following the service.

David will continue to help others learn through his gift to the Virginia State Anatomical Program. Any contributions may be made to the Food Bank VA Peninsula, 9912 Hoosier St., NN, VA 23601.