Willie E. Ketchum was a devoted veteran, husband, father, and pawpaw. He passed away Monday, December 27, 2021 in his home in Stonewall, LA surrounded by family. He was 89-years-old.
Willie was born January 23, 1932 in Goldonna, Louisiana to Joseph Ketchum and Myrtle Burnum. Willie was a graduate of Jonesboro Hodge High School with additional courses at Louisiana Tech. He served four years in the Air Force (with time served in England during the Korean Conflict) and another 19 years with the US Army Reserve. He was a proud, decorated veteran retiring with the rank of Sergeant Major.
After the war, Willie met the love of his life, Cecilia Montpelier in 1959. After a short engagement, Willie and Cecilia married July 9, 1960 celebrating 61 years of marriage this year. They welcomed two children, Mark in 1962 and Sheri in 1972.
Willie spent most of his adult years working as a purchasing agent/accounting clerk for several oil, gas and industrial companies, not limited to United Gas/Pennzoil, Western Electric and Riley Beaird. He also served as a unit administrator for the US Army Reserve 409th Clearing Company. During the Curtis McCune Stonewall mayoral administration, he served as the town clerk and tax assessor. As a long term member of Salem Baptist Church, Willie spent every Sunday morning in the Sunday school office for more than 40 years.
In his free time, Willie enjoyed working on and attempting to fix old lawnmowers ("Did you check the oil in it?!"), cooking on the grill, yard work, gardening, practicing to be an expert gopher trapper and doing the occasional donut in his VW if he had a frozen driveway. His passions included, but not limited to, collecting coins, antiques, and model cars/trucks. As a devoted father and grandfather, he never missed school assemblies, recitals, graduations, or sporting events. After retiring, his biggest job was taking the grandkids for ICEEs after picking them up on the "PawPaw Bus." His priority was always family.
Because of his height, Willie was nicknamed peewee, shorty & Sergeant Major Dumplin. He also had a beautiful set of blue eyes that were passed to all his grandsons.
Willie is preceded in death by his parents, Joe Ketchum & Myrtle Brewton; brothers, Eugene Ketchum, Robert Ketchum, Willard Ketchum, and Benny Joe Ketchum.
Willie is survived by wife, Cecilia Ketchum; son, Mark Ketchum; daughter, Sheri Gersch and husband, Jeff Gersch; granddaughter, Jessica Bias and husband, William Bias; grandsons, Adam Wellborn and Walker Gersch; sisters, Thelma Poland and husband, Bob Poland, Betty Jones and husband, Bobby Jones; and several nieces and nephews.
Services will be held Friday, December 31, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. at Salem Baptist Church, 5187 State Hwy. 3276, Stonewall, LA with a visitation starting at 9:00 a.m. until service time. Burial will follow in the Stonewall Cemetery. Officiating the service will be Brother Mike Hawkins.
Honoring Willie as pallbearers will be Adam Wellborn, Walker Gersch, William Bias, Nicholas Gasper, Cody Copeland, & Philip Rhodes.
The family would like to extend a special thank you to St. Joseph's Hospice, especially Shirley Clark and numerous friends and family that were supportive in Willie's care.
The family requests all memorials or donations be made to Salem Baptist Building Fund.