American Veteran 08

Willie Damper

May 29, 1924 ~ April 21, 2022 (age 97)

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On May 29,1924 Willie Damper was born into a poor sharecropper family. He worked various odd jobs, from delivering groceries, to laboring as a field hand to help his family

survive. He loved baseball and played third base. In 1942, at age 18, Willie and his eternal sweetheart, Ruby Powell Damper, began their 68-year journey in holy matrimony. Together they

had six sons and four daughters: Carolyn (Jesse) Coleman, Willie (Betty) Damper Jr., Ronald Eugene (Dianne) Damper, Jeanette Delores Damper, Carl Edward (Mary Ann) Damper, Walter

(Hilda) Damper, Rita Gail (Dennis) Jones, Michael (April) Damper, and Arthur Ray (Cathy) Damper, and Charlotte Patrice (Kevin) Calloway.


In 1943 during World War II(WW2), Willie joined the Army and was trained in segregated Fort Benning, Georgia. The 1950’s and 1960’s were tumultuous due to civil

unrest in the homeland and the Korean and VietNam wars abroad. During this period, some of Willie’s kids were of age to enlist, and did so. Three of Willie’s sons enlisted in the Army and

one served in the U.S. Air Force. In 1963, Willie and Ruby were proudly able to send their first of several kids to college. Through all this and more, the couple

continued to keep their family a cohesive unit.


In 1966 Willie and his family became a part of “The Great Migration” and moved to the midwest where he was able to find steady work in the steel plants of Gary, Indiana. As

circumstances started to improve, they joined a local church and the family served in various volunteer positions. He and Ruby loved sports, especially baseball. When in

Gary, Ruby was a Cubs fan and Willie was a White Sox fan. They were also Chicago Bulls fans.


In 1994, the couple had completed rearing their family and both had retired. One spring, Willie and Ruby visited their son Walter and Ruby fell in love with Walter’s town.

The couple immediately decided to move to Sierra Vista Arizona to live out their days. After their arrival in this area, the couple became members of the Greater Antioch

Baptist Church in Huachuca City, where Willie was a member of the Usher Board and Ruby found a place in the adult choir. Here, they enjoyed early morning walks,

gardening and hosting many of their neighbors, friends and grandkids.


When Ruby went home to be with the Lord (2010), Willie decided to not remarry, but to continue to watch over and advise his kids and grandkids. He was always there for a

quick call and a little life tested advice. During his rich life, Willie has been the patriarch of five generations. Loved ones left to cherish his memory are his six (6) sons and four

(4) daughters which extended his legacy to include 26 grandchildren, thirty - eight (38) great-grandchildren and six (6) great - great - grandchildren as well as many nieces,

nephews, cousins and a host of dear friends. If you were patient enough to be nearby when he felt like talking, you would be transported to different times and places and see how he

experienced life and the lessons learned through his eyes.


The Wake for Willie Damper will be at Hatfield Funeral home on Wednesday April 27th from4:00 - 7:00 p.m. A Homegoing Celebration for Willie Damper will take place at Greater Antioch

Missionary Baptist Church, 147 South Huachuca Blvd, Huachuca City, Arizona on April 28, 2022 beginning at 9:00 a.m April 28th. Interment will be at Southern Arizona Veterans Memorial

Cemetery, 1300 S Buffalo Soldier Trail, Sierra Vista, AZ 85635 at 12:00.  In lieu of flowers the family asks for donations in Willie’s name to the Children’s Educational Fund at GAMBC. P.O. Box 626, Sierra Vista, AZ 85636.


For those who are unable to be in Arizona for the viewing you may join electronically:  


Login code: 384 231 7578
Passcode: 8LAOs9


To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Willie Damper, please visit our floral store.


April 27, 2022

4:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Hatfield Funeral Home
830 South Highway 92
Sierra Vista, Arizona 85635

Funeral Service
April 28, 2022

9:00 AM
Greater Antioch Missionary Baptist Church
147 Huachuca Blvd
Huachuca City, Arizona 85616

Committal Service with Military Honors
April 28, 2022

12:00 PM
Southern Arizona Veterans Memorial Cemetery 1300 Buffalo Soldiers Trail Sierra Vista
1300 Buffalo Soldier Trail
Sierra Vista, AZ 85635

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