Since it's Memorial Day, I thought it would be a great time to share this blog about my Boompa (my Mom's father). A while back I wrote up some questions for Momo (my Mom's mother), wanting to learn more about Boompa. I never got to know him, as he passed away when I was just a baby. From the stories I've heard and the photos I've seen, he was an amazing and fun loving guy!
I hope you enjoy reading this and learning more about my Boompa!
Willard "Boompa" Byron Hill
What year was Boompa born, and where?
He was born in Monette, Arkansas, April 9, 1923
What were his parents names?
His father was Willard Henry Hill and his mother was Gladys Clattie Smith Hill
What were his siblings names?
He had two sisters, Mary Kathryn and Betty Sue.
How did he get the name, Boompa?
There was an old Jimmy Stewart movie where the grandkids called him Boompa.
Where were some places that he had lived?
Monette, Marked Tree, West Memphis and Earl, Arkansas; Bellflower and Long Beach, California
When did the two of you meet?
It was around 1939. He was a cousin of my best friend in high school. We met when he would visit them. He lived around 30 to 40 miles away.
Did he have a favorite hobby?
I don't know if he really had a favorite hobby, but he loved playing golf, he loved reading and he loved to dance.
What did he like to read?
He loved to read Bible stories, and also westerns.
What was his favorite food?
He loved fried chicken, or any type of southern cooking. If we had tacos, he would say, "Now what's for dinner?"
Did he have any dreams?
His dreams were to keep his family happy. Also, he really wanted to become a doctor, but it never happened.
What was his favorite kind of music?
Classical music, or anything that he could dance to.
Did he have any favorite TV shows or movies?
He liked the old movies, westerns, etc. ones with John Wayne or Jimmy Stewart. He also liked the Andy Griffith Show and Mash.
What kind of car did he have?
He didn't have a car until he was out of the Navy, in 1948. We got a older Ford.
How many years was he in the Navy?
He was in the Navy from 1940 until 1947. In 1950, he was called back in during the Korean War for 18 months.
He enlisted, January 28, 1941.
World War II
Pharmacist Mate 1st
Came home, June 1947
He served on the following ships:
USS Wichita, USS Croatan, USS Texas, USS Pine Island
He performed general hospital corps duties.
Korean War, September 1950 to December 1951. When he was discharged from WWII, June 1947, he had to be in the reserves for four years. Therefore, he was called back in during the Korean War for 18 months. He was discharged from the Navy, June 1952.
When I was pregnant with Charley, he got leave to come home for two weeks when the baby was due. However, the baby deiced he wasn't ready to come out at that time. So, Byron had to back to the ship. When Charles Byron was born two weeks later, Byron was on the ship outside of France. He got leave to come home 3 months later.
We went from West Memphis, Arkansas to Long Beach, California to be with his family. His family, plus Nona's (his mother) family moved from Arkansas to California in 1943.
When he got out of the Navy service in 1947, he got a job at Ohio Rubber Company in Long Beach, working in the factory area. About two years later, he became their personal director. They closed down the plant about three years later.
In 1954, he decided to go back to school, wanting to become a doctor. We went back to Arkansas where my parents lived and he enrolled at Memphis State University and got his pre-med, for two years. We then went back to California. He got a job at a hospital in Bellflower as a nurse. Never getting to be the doctor he wanted to become. He worked as a nurse until he got sick in 1976, and later died in that same hospital.
After months, and 2 surgeries, they found that Boompa had pancreatic cancer.
Bump passed away on September 27, 1976, Bellflower, California. He was buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Cypress, California, close to our son, Charles Byron.
I wait to meet you again one day Boompa and dance together with you!!