Ned H. Willman died September 17, 2007, in his home at The Springs, attended by his family and members of The Springs staff. He was born in Bovey, Minnesota, on December 2, 1919, to Agnes Belanger Willman and Arthur E. Willman.
The family moved to nearby Coleraine, where Ned’s favorite pastimes included camping, fishing, swimming, hunting, skiing and snowshoeing. The second youngest of five children, he enjoyed a boyhood of remarkable freedom, which shaped his later independence and self-reliance. He graduated from Greenway High School in Coleraine and attended Itasca Junior College.
Enlisting in the U.S. Marine Corps immediately after the attack on Pearl Harbor, he was among those recruited by Col. Evans F. Carlson and Capt. Jimmy Roosevelt to join the Marine Raiders, the first U.S. commando unit. Following boot camp, he served with the Second Raider Battalion, attaining the rank of sergeant. He served at Midway, Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima and Bougainville.
After the war ended, he graduated from Dunwoody Industrial Institute in Minneapolis and moved to Sidney, Montana, where he worked for Redgren Furnace and Sheet Metal.
In 1950, he married Phyllis B. Tvetan, formerly of Sherwood, North Dakota, and their daughter, Becki, was born in 1952. From 1957-1967 Ned operated a heating, air conditioning and sheet metal business in Sidney. In 1967 the family moved to Long Beach, California, where Ned’s employment as a sheet metal mechanic leader at the U.S. Naval Shipyard involved work on such ships as the New Jersey, Coral Sea, Ticonderoga, Kitty Hawk and Missouri.
He retired in 1986, and he and Phyllis moved to Missoula to be near their daughter and her family.
Despite declining health in recent years, Ned never lost his quick wit and dry sense of humor. He faced the trials of aging with the same courage and stoicism which characterized his earlier life. He was deeply grateful to the dedicated staff of St. Patrick Hospital’s Dialysis Center and The Springs and to his physicians, Dr. Meg Eddy and Dr. Diane Yahn.
Ned is survived by his wife, Phyllis; daughter Becki (Kirk) Johnson, Missoula; brother Jack Willman, Riverside, California; sister Marion Rundle, Redlands, California; grandchildren Susannah (John) McVay-Ries, Spokane, Washington, and Colin (Elisha) McVay, Corvallis, Oregon; great-granddaughters Violet, McKenzie and Kylie; and numerous nieces and nephews.
The family suggests memorials to the Dialysis Center, in care of the St. Patrick Hospital Foundation.