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William "Will" Foard


1924 - 2016 Obituary Condolences Gallery
William "Will" Foard Obituary
William Williams Foard (Will) was reunited with his beloved wife Kat in the arms of Jesus on Tuesday, September 6, 2016. Will was born September 11, 1924, to Catherine Davis Williams and Henry Gilbert Foard in East Orange, NJ.
Several years after Will's father died and his mother had moved the family back to their home city of Wilmington, NC, she married Frank Y. Blackwell. They moved to Marion, SC, where Will attended high school. He spent a year at Castle Heights Military Academy before entering Clemson University in 1943.
When Army Air Corps recruiters came to campus, Will joined, and became a P-51 Mustang fighter pilot, flying combat missions from RAF Leiston with the 357th Fighter Group, 8th Air Force. He named his plane "Swamp Fox" after Francis Marion, the Revolutionary War hero. Being stationed in England, Will saw the humor in painting the name "Swamp Fox" on his P-51, the British military's nickname for Marion in 1775. His three brothers and stepfather were also on active duty during WWII. His older brother Gilbert, tail gunner on a B-17, was killed in action on April 1, 1945. Will stayed in the Air Force Reserves after WWII, and retired with the rank of Lt. Colonel.
After the war, Will graduated from Clemson with a degree in mechanical engineering. He specialized in designing HVAC systems for the textile industry (Burlington Industries and other companies) and large facilities such as hospitals and malls.
Will married the love of his life, Julia Katherine Littlejohn, in 1949, and they had five children (listed with spouses): Julie and Lou Toffaletti, Meg and Jimmi Accardi, Bill Jr. and Betty Foard, Libby and Mike McKee, and Ginny Foard. Their grandsons and their families are: Jason, Taura, and great-granddaughter Posey Toffaletti; David and Stephanie Toffaletti; William Foard III; Matt McKee; and Stuart McKee.
Will's legendary sense of humor made him fun to be around. His favorite activities were music and boating. He sang, played guitar and banjo, and played trombone in bands from high school through college -- and traveled to play for dances with the Brigadiers Orchestra while at Clemson.
Will built several sailboats over the years, and he and Kat spent a winter sailing in the Bahamas. He also designed and built (with the help of Frank Ipock) a trawler named "Swamp Fox," and he and Kat enjoyed cruising the Intracoastal Waterway.
The Robert Dickson family restored a P-51 and named it "Swamp Fox" after Will's plane. It was a tremendous honor, and Will and Kat thoroughly enjoyed attending air shows where the Swamp Fox flew. The Dicksons, members of the Air Force (active and retired), and others devoted to the remembrance of "the greatest generation" gave Will so much recognition and pleasure during the past several years -- and we, his children, are greatly appreciative!
The family wishes to thank the many relatives, friends, and medical and Hospice personnel who have blessed and supported Will and Kat, especially in the last few years.
Will's memorial service will be held at St. James Episcopal Church in Wilmington, NC.
An online register book is available for family and friends by visiting www.thosshepherd.com.
Thos. Shepherd & Son Funeral Directors are in charge of the arrangements.
Published in The Times-News from Sept. 17 to Sept. 18, 2016
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