By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Willis Carmen Grizzel
1915 - 2010
Placeholder Image


GARDEN GROVE, Calif. — Willis Carmen Grizzell, LCDR, USN, retired, 95, of Garden Grove, Calif., died on Oct. 31. He was born on Aug. 16, 1915, on the family wheat farm in rural Claflin. Willis was the son of Robert Martin and Maude Johnson Grizzell, the fourth of eight children. Willis attended grade and high school in Claflin, graduating with the Class of 1934. Intrigued by the U.S. Mail Planes flying over the farm, he attended the Lincoln (Neb.) Airplane Flying School in 1934 where he obtained his Private Pilot License. He joined the Navy in June 1936, spent three months in Great Lakes Boot Camp, three years in Battleship Aviation serving on the USS Texas, Nevada and Tennessee, flight school in Pensacola, Fla., where he received his wings on Feb. 3, 1942. This made him one of the few members of the Silver Eagles NAP. Tours of duty included the Aleutians, Gilbert-Marshall Campaign, Tarawa, Makin, Kwajelein and Eniwetok. In 1946, he was sent to NAS Agana, Guam, for two years.

His final active duty orders were to Norman, Okla., in July 1954, where he retired in 1956 after 20 years as LCDR, settling in Garden Grove, Calif. Willis C. Grizzell will be remembered as a generous, kind, big-hearted and highly respected man who held great affection for his family and always had fond memories of his early years on the family farm.

Willis was an active member of the ANA-Association of Naval Aviators and the Grand Pettibone Group of Retired Naval Personnel. He and Sally have been active with the local Elks Club and other organizations.

Survivors include his companion of 30 years, Sally O’Day; his sister, Miriam Zieber; 12 nieces and nephews; and many long-time friends. He was preceded in death by his wife, Ina Underwood, in December 1977; siblings Robert (1990), Mildred Bowman (1990), Richard (1997), Bette Jones (2006), Maurine Riggio (2008) and Lenora (2009).

Funeral services were held Nov. 5 at Dimond and Shannon Mortuary in Garden Grove. Condolences can be sent to Miriam

Grizzell Zieber at 12232 Shannondell Drive, Audubon, PA 19403.

Great Bend (Kan.) Tribune, Nov. 18, 2010*