Ennis Daily News

Major Willie J. Kucera


Major Willie J. Kucera, U.S. Army (Ret) went to be with the Lord and the love of his life, his wife Cecilia, on August 27, 2012. Born July 28, 1905, Willie was the oldest veteran in El Paso and one of the five oldest in the country. He was a native of Ennis, Texas, in a small farming town about 60 miles south of Dallas. Willie worked in his father’s general store and learned all aspects of the retail business. He was recruited into the U.S. Army in 1942 to assist in running the Army Post Exchange, now known as the Army and Air Force Exchange Services (AFEES) and because of this experience in the retail business he was commissioned as a first Lieutenant. He served in Germany, Italy and Korea during his career in the military and retired in 1962 and he resided in El Paso ever since. On his 100th birthday, July 28th was declared “Willie Kucera Day” in El Paso and he was bestowed dozens of awards by the City of El Paso, the county of El Paso, the State Legislature, Governor Rick Perry, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, both U.S. Senators from Texas and President George W. Bush, along with other organizations including AFEES. Willie was a member of The Military Order of the World Wars (MOWW) chapter in El Paso and was the oldest living member of the order, nationally. He was recognized and honored at the MOWW national convention in El Paso in 2010. Willie and Cecilia were married for 70 years, but never had any children. Willie outlived almost all his relatives. He was preceded in death by Cecilia in 2004. He is survived by only a few distant relatives in Ennis, Plainview, and Lubbock, Texas. For the last eight years he has lived alone in his home in El Paso, but has not been alone. He was honored to have many friends in El Paso who visited often, dearly loved him, will miss him greatly and now celebrate his wonderful life and the opportunity to have had their lives touched by him. He was a parishioner at the catholic community and chapel at William Beaumont Army Medical Center. Up until two months ago, Willie was physically active, walking without any assistance, gardening, taking care of his house, caring for his birds and turtles and still driving his car during daylight hours to familiar and close location. While still driving a couple of months ago, the Chief-of-Staff at William Beaumont Army Medical Center arranged to have a personal parking space designated for anyone over 105 years old, in honor of Major Kucera. He had a keen mind which remained sharp as a tack up until his recent demise. He could always discuss almost any topic, including current events, world news and politics. He remembered many events from many years ago with great clarity and regaled us with stories and memories from long ago He also had a very good sense of humor, could tell a joke and catch on to very subtle jokes told to him. It was a joy to be with him. While a resident of the Ambrosio Guillen Texas State Veterans’ Home, which assisted him to attend, he celebrated his 107th birthday just a month ago with over 100 friends at a party at the Great American Land and Cattle Co. Steakburger restaurant, where he was honored with a presentation of a flag by U.S. Congressman Silvestre Reyes and proclamation from the Texas Legislature presented by State Representative Dee Margo. The event was covered by several media outlets in El Paso. Efforts are underway to have the fountain in the center of Freedom Crossing at Fort Bliss named in honor of Major Kucera. Visitation will be on Monday, September 3, 2012 from 4 p.m. until 6 p.m. in the J.E. Keever Mortuary Chapel of Ennis, Texas with Rosary at 5 p.m. Mass of the Christian Burial will take place on Tuesday, September 4, 2012 at 10 a.m. in St. John Catholic Church of Ennis with interment to follow in St. Joseph Cemetery under the direction of J.E. Keever Mortuary, Inc. www.jekeevermortuary.com

Major Willie J. Kucera, U.S. Army (Ret) went to be with the Lord and the love of his life, his wife Cecilia, on August 27, 2012. Born July 28, 1905, Willie was the oldest veteran in El Paso and one of the five oldest in the country. He was a native of Ennis, Texas, in a small farming town about 60 miles south of Dallas. Willie worked in his father’s general store and learned all aspects of the retail business. He was recruited into the U.S. Army in 1942 to assist in running the Army Post Exchange, now known as the Army and Air Force Exchange Services (AFEES) and because of this experience in the retail business he was commissioned as a first Lieutenant. He served in Germany, Italy and Korea during his career in the military and retired in 1962 and he resided in El Paso ever since. On his 100th birthday, July 28th was declared “Willie Kucera Day” in El Paso and he was bestowed dozens of awards by the City of El Paso, the county of El Paso, the State Legislature, Governor Rick Perry, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, both U.S. Senators from Texas and President George W. Bush, along with other organizations including AFEES. Willie was a member of The Military Order of the World Wars (MOWW) chapter in El Paso and was the oldest living member of the order, nationally. He was recognized and honored at the MOWW national convention in El Paso in 2010. Willie and Cecilia were married for 70 years, but never had any children. Willie outlived almost all his relatives. He was preceded in death by Cecilia in 2004. He is survived by only a few distant relatives in Ennis, Plainview, and Lubbock, Texas. For the last eight years he has lived alone in his home in El Paso, but has not been alone. He was honored to have many friends in El Paso who visited often, dearly loved him, will miss him greatly and now celebrate his wonderful life and the opportunity to have had their lives touched by him. He was a parishioner at the catholic community and chapel at William Beaumont Army Medical Center. Up until two months ago, Willie was physically active, walking without any assistance, gardening, taking care of his house, caring for his birds and turtles and still driving his car during daylight hours to familiar and close location. While still driving a couple of months ago, the Chief-of-Staff at William Beaumont Army Medical Center arranged to have a personal parking space designated for anyone over 105 years old, in honor of Major Kucera. He had a keen mind which remained sharp as a tack up until his recent demise. He could always discuss almost any topic, including current events, world news and politics. He remembered many events from many years ago with great clarity and regaled us with stories and memories from long ago He also had a very good sense of humor, could tell a joke and catch on to very subtle jokes told to him. It was a joy to be with him. While a resident of the Ambrosio Guillen Texas State Veterans’ Home, which assisted him to attend, he celebrated his 107th birthday just a month ago with over 100 friends at a party at the Great American Land and Cattle Co. Steakburger restaurant, where he was honored with a presentation of a flag by U.S. Congressman Silvestre Reyes and proclamation from the Texas Legislature presented by State Representative Dee Margo. The event was covered by several media outlets in El Paso. Efforts are underway to have the fountain in the center of Freedom Crossing at Fort Bliss named in honor of Major Kucera. Visitation will be on Monday, September 3, 2012 from 4 p.m. until 6 p.m. in the J.E. Keever Mortuary Chapel of Ennis, Texas with Rosary at 5 p.m. Mass of the Christian Burial will take place on Tuesday, September 4, 2012 at 10 a.m. in St. John Catholic Church of Ennis with interment to follow in St. Joseph Cemetery under the direction of J.E. Keever Mortuary, Inc. www.jekeevermortuary.com

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