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William Earnest Davis

1LT in Signal Co, Special : Officer

Military occupational specialty: 221


Born 1910 in IL, Died 1990

Other residence(s): Murphysboro, IL; Chicago, IL; Sheldon, IL;  Normal, IL
United States Army, European Theatre of Operations
Occupation before the war: Telephone company employee
College education before the war: Southern Illinois University 4 years
Notes: 2LT on Signal Company Special Roster, 20 Oct 1944
Source: Unit Shipment 10143-D, 23d HQ, from le Havre 23 June 1945; Roster of 23d HQ officers, from family of Oscar Seale; photo from Southern Illinois University yearbook, 1932

William Davis (who went by Earnest as a child and young man) was born on June 12, 1910 in Murphysboro, IL, the second of four children. His father was a farm manager.

He graduated from Southern Illinois University in 1932 with a BS in chemistry; he was active there in the YMCA, Science Club, track, and wrestling. He went to work for the phone company after graduation. He had been living in Chicago when he married Geraldine Wilcox on October 27, 1935 in Murphysboro. Their only daughter, Carol, was born a couple of years later.

At the time of the 1940 census, the Davises were living in Sheldon, IL, south of Chicago. But when he registered for the draft, on October 16, 1940, he was living in Murphysboro and working for the Illinois Commercial Telephone Company.

He enlisted on August 4, 1942; his phone company experience made him a natural for a signal company, and he eventually was assigned to the Signal Company Special. He served in Europe with the unit, and was discharged with the rank of 1LT on December 16, 1945.

Back in Illinois he continued his phone company work. He served as chief clerk for the Springfield, IL office in 1950 and by 1962 he was supervisor of plant records for the General Telephone Company of Illinois in Normal, IL (adjacent to Bloomington, IL).

His wife Geraldine died in 1959, and on November 1, 1962 he married Roberta Shaw Pearce who was also widowed. The marriage took place in Bloomington.

William was an active member of St. Matthew's Episcopal Church in Bloomington, and a member and past master at the Normal Masonic Lodge. He was also a member of the Walter G. Wright Pioneers Association.

He died on June 18, 1990 in Normal and is buried at Pleasant Grove Memorial Park in Murphysboro.

NOTE: His middle name is spelled with and without the "A" in different iterations (Earnest vs Ernest); the "A" is used in his draft card and college yearbook so that version is used here.


1932 Southern Illinois yearbook (see below)


1920 census

1930 census

1932 Southern Illinois yearbook

1940 census

1940 draft card

1950 census

1962 2nd wedding announcement in The Pantagraph (Bloomington IL),0.044127986,0.61059314,0.24419431&xid=3398&_gl=1*nh8kr0*_ga*OTAyNjY1ODI4LjE2NzI5MjMwNDk.*_ga_4QT8FMEX30*MTY3MzEyMDM1Mi40LjEuMTY3MzEyNTc1Ni40NS4wLjA.&_ga=2.160876733.1844644784.1673036203-902665828.1672923049

1990 obituary in The Pantagraph (Bloomington IL),0.16798022,0.813478,0.63761014&xid=3355&_gl=1*tn6dmg*_ga*OTAyNjY1ODI4LjE2NzI5MjMwNDk.*_ga_4QT8FMEX30*MTY3MzEyMDM1Mi40LjEuMTY3MzEyNDM0OC41OS4wLjA.&_ga=2.243655941.1844644784.1673036203-902665828.1672923049

1990 Find a Grave record*1t4z7ut*_ga*OTAyNjY1ODI4LjE2NzI5MjMwNDk.*_ga_4QT8FMEX30*MTY3MzEyMDM1Mi40LjEuMTY3MzEyNDk0Mi4xMy4wLjA.

1990 VA death record

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