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OPELOUSAS - Funeral services were held Saturday, October 29, 2011 at a 1:00 p.m. Mass of Christian Burial in St. Landry Catholic Church for Willis Ashford, age 87, who passed away Thursday, October 27, 2011 at St. Landry Extended Care Hospital in Opelousas.
Interment was in Mt. Calvary Cemetery in Eunice, LA. The Rev. Jim Brady, pastor of St. Landry Catholic Church in Opelousas, officiated at the services. Giftbearers were Ruth Hooks and Rhonda Roberie. Readers were Sonya Darbonne, Dot Castille and Danielle Marks.
Mr. Ashford was a native of Basile and a resident of Opelousas. He was a veteran of the military having served in the U.S. Army during World War II. With the 37th Inf. Division P.F.C. Willis Ashford helped to save another soldier's life during the bitter fighting that preceded the attack of the 145th Inf. Division Intramusar in Minila. When a man from another company was hit near Willis's position he moved his heavy machine gun into an expassed position, laid down a terrific covering fire while two other men dashed forward, and removed the injured man. Mr. Ashford left the U.S. in March 1944, prior to landing in Luzan he was stationed at Bougainville. Returning to the U.S., Mr. Ashford was wearing the Combat Inf. Badge, Asiatic-Pacific Theater, Philippine Liberation, Bronze Star, and the Good Conduct and Victory Medals. He received honorable discharge in December 18, 1945 as a Sergeant. Mr. Ashford will be sadly missed by all who knew and loved him.
Survivors included one daughter, Romona "Mona" Ann Darbonne; two grandchildren, Ferrell "D.J." Darbonne, II and Sonya Darbonne; two great grandchildren, Jonas Darbonne and Jayden Gorrel. Also survived by a host of nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Lean Delafosse Ashford; his parents, Thomas Ashford and the former Dea Hebert; one son in law, Ferrell Glenn Darbonne, Sr.; three brothers; Morris Ashford, Jesse Ashford and Jean Batiste Ashford; three sisters; Almose Fruge, Lucille Johnson, and Maurice Courvelle.
A rosary was prayed at 6:00 p.m. Friday in the funeral home.
The family requested that visiting hours be observed from 5:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. Friday and continued from 8:00 a.m. until service time on Saturday.
View the obituary and guestbook online at www.melanconfuneralhome.net.
Melancon Funeral Home of Opelousas, 4708 I-49 North Service Road, (337) 407-1907, was in charge of arrangements.
Published in the Daily World on Oct. 30, 2011