Wilmer's Story

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Wilmer "Willie" John Altman, 98, of Ambia, a resident of Williamsport Nursing Home, Williamsport, died Friday, March 9, 2018, at 10:36 p.m., at Williamsport Hospital, Indiana, after suffering from Alzheimer's.
He was born in Monticello, Ind., May 16, 1919. He was the youngest son of Anton Stephen and Margaret Lucille Horan Altman. He was raised in the Wolcott and Reynolds area moving to the Wolcott area after marriage, living in the Ambia area since 1950. He was a 1938 graduate of Wolcott High School.
On April 30, 1949, he married Mary Alice McCormick at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Reynolds. Mary Alice passed away on Nov. 20, 2007.
In April 10,1941, Wilmer enlisted in the U.S. Army at Fort Benjamin Harrison, Ind., proudly serving his country. "On April 14, 1941 we shipped out on a troop train and arrived at Camp Shelby, Mississippi. When we arrived at Camp Shelby, Mississippi a few days later covered with smoke and cinders in our eyes especially after the ride through the tunnel in the Cumberland mountains. After processing I was assigned to Battery C of the 139th Field Artillery Regiment, 38 Division, US Army. I was trained on 105 Howitzer cannons at different times when we were on maneuvers in Mississippi and Louisiana. On January 1, 1943 we left New Orleans, Louisiana for the Panama Canal going through the canal on to Honolulu, Hawaii. We only spent six months in Hawaii. We waved good-bye to the pretty girls in grass skirts and arrived in Papa New Guiana to spend four months in the jungle, very hot weather and lots of mosquitoes. Arrived on the Island of Leyte in the Philippines for three weeks. We shipped out to the Islands of Luzon for our tour of combat. We went to shore by Corregidor Island which is at the entrance to Manila Bay, Philippines. This is where we got into combat action. I was in Battery C, 105 Howitzers, in the 38th Division. Now known as the "Avengers of Bataan." We were fighting then moved onto other places on the Island of Luzon. The ferocious fighting was at Zig Zag pass where all 12 guns and four long toms laid down a 24-hour barrage of ammo on the mountain. This was to soften up the Japanese hidden in the tunnels. That was when I lost my hearing in my right ear. The next day infantry were ordered to take Zigzag Pass. We were in other fighting battles and finally the war was over after serving 22 months. Entered the US Army as a Private E1 and left as a Sargent E5. Returned home to White County, Indiana to farm."
Wilmer was a farmer for most of his life. In 1972 he started work for Warren County Highway Dept. He drove dump trucks, graded roads, snow removal in the winter. He has been on every road in Warren County several times. He worked part time for REMC reading meters. Wilmer was a member of American Legion Post No. 259, Williamsport and VFW Post 3318 Attica, Ind.
Surviving are four children, Carol Freeman (Steve) of Williamsport, Ind., John Altman of Williamsport, Eleanor Anderson (Jim) of State Line, Ind., and Harold Altman (Vistacion) of Oxnard, Calif.; eight grandchildren, Damion (Dawn) Freeman of Fla., Leslie (Kenny) Dayton of Fla., A.J. Anderson (Marisa) of Tilton, Ill., Aaron (Sara) Altman of Williamsport, Megan Hill of Lafayette, Ind., Kelsey (Randall Fink) Altman of Williamsport, Nathan Altman and Crystal Altman of Oxnard, Calif.; four great-grandchildren, Skylar Hill, Jamie and Jason Jacques and Evan Dayton; and one great-great-grandchild, Roman Altman.
Wilmer was preceded in death by his wife, Mary Alice Altman; three sisters, Antoinette Higgins, Mary Owens, Ruth Hower; and one brother, Francis Altman.
Visitation will be at Grady Funeral Home in Williamsport on Wednesday, March 14, 2018, from 11 a.m. to service time at 1 p.m. EDT. with Rev. Sam Futral officiating. Interment will be at St. Joseph Cemetery in Reynolds, Ind., with full military honors. Memorial contributions may be made to Alzheimer's Association or the American Legion Post No. 259. Online condolences may be made at www.gradyfuneralhome.com.
Published on March 10, 2018
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