Willie Spoon, Lt. USN  
submitted by various shipmates and friends

From John Clear: 
This morning [11/12/2002] at 0100, Willie Spoon, LT. USN Ret., our Bremerton Base COB passed away... Willie had a long and illustrious career of 23 years making his way up through the ranks from 1951 through 1974... To his wife, JoAnn and the rest of the family, please know that our friend and shipmate Willie will be sorely missed by us all, his humor and intelligence made an often insane world more bearable - Thanks for your service Willie - hand salute!

From Patrick Householder:
Willie Spoon was very well known and very highly regarded in the Puget Sound subvet community and elsewhere.

Although his departure on eternal patrol was not unexpected, it does leave a hole in our hearts and big shoes to fill, for Willie was VERY active in boosting the scholarship fund. He really believed in our need to build the future through supporting the children.

You did good work, Willie. God bless you and rest easy in the arms of our Lord. You stand relieved, shipmate. We've got the watch.

From Gil Shaddock:
Willie and I served together on the USS Hunley (AS-31). 'SAILOR, REST YOUR OARS", and "Thank You" for your service.

From Tim Spoon:
HAND SALUTE!!!! I first met 'Uncle Willie' at the USSVI Convention in Reno. He and I traded stories about the family name and after comparing notes think our families, having both come out of Arkansas and North Carolina, may be distantly related. Just not that many Spoons around.

I had hoped to see him again next year in Reno.

From Mike Hemming:
Some of us are saddened by the fact that those of us that met Willie will not be able to see him again.  Those of us that hadn't met him are saddened that they will be unable to do so now. Hopefully there is a Submariners Vahalla where we all will meet someday.

But until then, thank you for your service Willie Spoon and may God lay his gentle hand on your family in this time of sorrow.

Rest in Peace Sailor.

From Dex Armstrong:
It never ceases to amaze me how the passing of boatsailors you never had the honor and pleasure of meeting makes you pause to reflect on the how truly close the submarine community really is. As I read the tribute by John Clear , I felt a kinship with this gentleman born of sharing damn strong coffee and saltwater over the TBT with men who shared his dreams and aspirations. 

We are all inseparably linked by common experience and each submariner who draws orders for the Silver Pier leaves a void in the hearts of those of us whose world could be reduced to the common denominator of four battle lanterns, a trim pump and a damn good Diving Officer. 

Lt. Spoon, I hope that you, Old Gringo, Bob Harrison and Marl Garlock get good Mid Rats tonight and can find one of those wonderfully warm blankets they have up there...You'll need it if Saint Peter comes through that Forward Engineroom Door, with two-to-four engines on line. May God plot your course and keep you in his care.

From Fred Borgmann (USSVI National Office news release):
It is with deep regret that I inform you that William T. Spoon of the Bremerton Base passed away last night,0100 on 11/12/02, in his sleep after a long battle with cancer. "Willy" Spoon was a long time Life member of the USSVI and was responsible for creating the successful Scholarship program of the Base. He is survived by his spouse, JoAnn who resides in Silverdale WA.

Willy qualified on the Grouper SSK214, in 1954. He also served aboard the Skate and Sculpin and just recently returned from the Skate reunion.

He will, indeed, be missed by his family and shipmates.

From Kirk Viestenz, MCPO Ret:
Last evening I heard of the passing of the "COB". There have been many a dedicated Submarinerer; standing amongst them is WILLIE SPOON!! God Bless Willy and his family!!

From Bob Wonsley:
I first met Willie when I got involved with National politics of USSVI.  He never had a bad word about anyone, with his southern drawl he was a most lovable person.  He and his wife JoAnn always made me feel welcome.  Going to miss him, with that in mind I was going to call him this weekend!  Lesson to learn, do not hesitate for your shipmate may not be here tomorrow.

God bless Willie, JoAnn and his family.

From Don “Red” Bassler:
I really only knew Willie well the last couple years but had been badgered by him for active Bremerton Base membership and scholarship participation for 10 years. Shame on me for not coming along sooner for I certainly missed many years of friendship and watching a dedicated individual improve the Bremerton Base. We all have lost a wonderful, caring person.

From Carl Schmidt, Razorback Commander: Willie I remember the fellowship and good time I spend with you in Reno. The Submarine Veterans of Arkansas will miss you. Rest your Oar.

From Fred Carlson ET1(SS): I first met Willie at the STR (later renamed S1W) prototype in Idaho. He was going out with JoAnn and I went out with her roommate. I didn't realize what a prize JoAnn had in those days. Although Willie never was assigned to Nautilus, I still consider him a true shipmate. I pray for the repose of your soul, Willie; and I pray for JoAnn and all of your family. Fair winds, following seas and God speed. You are missed.



The Memorial Service

The above photo was taken at the reception after Willie Spoon's Memorial Service, Saturday, November 16, 2002. USSVI Bremerton Base Vice Commander Bob Webster presented Willie's wife, JoAnn, with a plaque and framed certificate from the base illustrating membership's high respect for Willie and naming the base's annual scholarship drive as the "Lt. William Spoon Memorial Scholarship"

USSVI Bremerton Base Tribute

Please take a moment of silence to honor another of our fallen brothers. 

Hand Salute,
Sailor rest your oars.

In loving memory of an honored shipmate
by his shipmates and friends

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