William Wilbur Brown
So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross, till my trophies at last I lay down; I will cling to the old rugged cross, and exchange it someday for a crown. Surrounded by those he loved dearly, William Wilbur Brown, age 89, passed away peacefully at the Bowers House in Beckley on Tuesday, November 13, 2012. The son of the late Wilbur and Gertrude Brown, William was born at Mead Poca, W.Va., on January 16, 1923.
He lived most of his life in Arnett, with the last several years at Glen Daniel at the home of his cherished daughter Dolly and her husband Kermit Pettry. William was a born again Christian and one of the founding members of the Arnett Assembly of God Church where he served as Superintendent of Sunday School for over 50 years. William worked in the coal mines for several years and was a member of UMWA. He retired from the Raleigh County Board of Education as a bus driver. In his earlier years, William coached Little League baseball and coached basketball and softball at Mount View Elementary School.
William was also a World War II veteran and was a war hero. Having served in New Guinea and the Philippine Islands, in 1945 he saved the lives of several soldiers during the surrendering of Japanese’s General Yamashita. During the official surrendering ceremony, a Japanese soldier reached in his pocket which was noticed by William. He immediately went for him and grabbed his arm and took him out of the facility. As William and others searched him, they discovered a live hand grenade. There was no doubt the Japanese soldier had intentions of killing every American soldier there.
William was preceded in death by his wife Nadine whom he was married to for 56 years, sisters Goldie Pettry, Dora Mae Finsley, Fern Dennison and Roberta Wills Martin and one brother, Cledith Brown and two older siblings.
He is survived by his loving daughter and caregivers, Dolly and her husband Kermit of Glen Daniel, son Donnie and his wife Leah from Ashburn, Va., son Eugene and his wife Cathy from Prosperity. Grandchildren, Scott Pettry and his wife Stephney of Beckley, Sherri Ferrell and husband Travis of South Charleston, Greg Brown and wife Mechelle from Sparta, New Jersey, Stephanie Eikost and husband Derek of Beckley. He is also survived by great-grandchildren Alyssa and Andrew Pettry, Michael Ferrell, Austin and Elijah Eikost. William is also survived by a brother Bobby Brown and wife Enid of Ravenswood, W.Va., and sisters Patricia Snodgrass and husband Kenneth of Arnett and Kathleen Cales of Green Sulphur Springs, W.Va. In addition, he is survived by sister in law Pat Brown of Napoleon, Ohio, and brother in law James Pettry of Virginia. He is also survived by a host of loving nephews, nieces and friends.
Service will be 2 p.m. Friday, Nov. 16, 2012, at the Assembly of God Church, Arnett, with Pastor Randall Pugh and the Rev. Randall Brickey officiating. Burial will follow in the Lemon Famliy Cemetery, Posey Saxon Rd., Arnett, with military graveside rites by the American Legion, Post No. 32, Beckley.
Friends may call two hours prior to the services Friday at the church.
Family and friends will serve as pallbearers.
Arrangements by Armstrong Funeral Home, Whitesville.