William "Bill" Cress

6 entries
  • "To the Cress family , we send our deepest sympathy, and..."
  • "Bill was and is a fine gentleman.He will be missed.My..."
    - Billy Nichols
  • "I am sorry to hear about Bill.I wish there was something i..."
    - Billy Nichols
  • "The Cress Family- I am so sorry for your loss and my..."
    - dianne Robinson (decker)
  • "I worked for hin at the depot and he was a grate leader and..."
    - James Johnston
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Colonel William "Bill" Cress of Anniston, passed away peacefully on June 27, 2010, from complications of a sudden onset respiratory disorder. He was 83 years old. He was an innovative and successful military leader and civil service manager with a combined career that spanned more than six decades and covered 43 years of Government service. In his last Government assignment, he was responsible for several new tank designs and the management of the Directorate Of Maintenance for Anniston Army Depot. He enlisted in the US Army May 9, 1946, after graduating from high school and rose to the rank of Master Sergeant (Infantry). In 1950, he transferred to Armor and received his battlefield commission as a second Lieutenant in 1951 as a result of combat leadership and innovative bravery. In 1956, he switched to Ordnance. He was a graduate of the Command and General Staff College and the Defense Language Institute (Arabic). He was awarded the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star (with V Device) and single Oak Leaf Cluster, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal with 5th Oak Leaf Cluster, the Korean Service Medal and the Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation. Colonel Cress was a proud recipient of the Combat Infantryman's and US Army Parachutist Badges. Colonel Cress came to Anniston Army Depot in January 1973 as Director of Maintenance. As manager of one of the most complex industrial efforts in the Army, Colonel Cress increased production by 500% by leading the workforce using new processes, modernizing obsolete tanks (M48A1 and M48A3 converted to M48A5) and adding 2,000 tanks to the Army fleet. Under his stewardship, Anniston was recognized as the Tank Rebuild Center of the Free World. Colonel Cress was widely recognized as the most knowledgeable tank production manager in the US Army. During periods of conflict, such as Granada, Panama and South West Asia, his skills as a soldier and civilian manager were the primary ingredient for Anniston's successful mission performance and international reputation. In his personal life, Bill Cress was preceded in death by his wife of 48 years, Mrs. Gladys B. Cress. Colonel Cress was an outstanding husband, father, mentor to many and a Master Mason. He appreciated and supported excellence in engineering, music and individual achievement. He was a voracious reader and donated many of his books to others. He was very active and in outstanding health until the last week of his life. He is survived by Bess Elrod, his best friend and companion of more than 10 years; sons, Michael and Bill; daughter, Anne; five grandchildren and one great- granddaughter. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, June 29, 2010, at the Gray Brown-Service Mortuary, 1329 Wilmer Avenue in Anniston, Alabama. A military salute will be held directly following the service. Colonel Cress was a Founding Sponsor of the National Museum in Arlington to honor the American Soldier. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Army Historical Foundation to support the building of the National Museum of the United States Army (www.armyhistory.org). Donations are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.
Published in The Anniston Star on June 28, 2010
Colonel William Cress
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Arrangements under the direction of:
Gray Brown-Service Mortuary
1329 Wilmer Ave | Anniston, AL 362014651 | (256) 236-3441
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