Willard Youtz (1919 - 2014)

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  • "One of the 5 most respected men on the planet! What a..."
    - Dana Youtz
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Willard Youtz
Willard H. Youtz, 94 died peacefully on July 10 after a difficult struggle with Lou Gehrig's disease. Willard lived a long, productive and adventurous life having a lasting positive effect on everyone who was fortunate enough to have known him. He understood what is important in life and gave generously of himself to those things.
Willard was a committed Christian who sought to trust God and follow Jesus throughout his life, attending church faithfully and sharing his favorite Christian books and pamphlets with family and friends. He was a devoted family man who worked hard to create a warm, welcoming home filled with love and laughter. He was ingenious, a life-long learner always looking for projects that could benefit by his touch. He was a patriot, a decorated WWII pilot who served bravely in combat and he was a humble man who was grateful for and content with his lot in life.
Willard was born in Polk county Iowa on July 25, 1919, the second child of his loving parents Fletcher and Lizzie Youtz. Before he was one year old the family moved to San Diego CA where they lived for eight years. The family grew to six children by 1928 when they moved to Laramie county Wyoming to begin ranching near Burns. The years on the ranch produced many wonderful memories for Willard, his four brothers and one sister. The bond established among the siblings has led to forty years of annual or semi-annual family reunions including their children, grand children and great grand children.
In 1941 he graduated from the University of Woming with a degree in Agriculture. He had just begun a career as a high school teacher when the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 altered the lives of so many Americans including the Youtz family - all five brothers felt compelled to serve and enlisted. Willard became a Navy pilot and was assigned to an escort aircraft carrier, the USS Liscome Bay and flew Grumman TBF Avenger torpedo Bombers on many combat missions. At 5:10 a.m. on November 24, 1943, a Japanese torpedo struck the ship igniting the munitions magazine. The carrier sank within 23 minutes. Willard made his way from his bunk leading shipmates out an elevator shaft to the hangar deck to escape the sinking ship.
After a short recuperation he returned to duty, this time with the VF-17 Squadron on the USS Hornet flying F4V Corsairs and later, F6F Hellcats in combat until the war ended. He received several medals during this tour including a Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, a Purple Heart and Air Medals.
After the war, Willard married his first wife Neva Childers and fathered two daughters. Later by his second wife Nadine Lain he fathered one son and acquired additional children, one daughter and two sons. His third wife Grace Stoll brought two daughters and three sons to the family bringing the total to eleven children and Willard and Grace loved them all. During the years after the war Willard pursued a career with the Soil Conservation Service (now the National Resources Conservation Service) for 31 years until his retirement in 1977. With all the children then out of the home, he and his wife Grace moved to Maseru Lesotho Africa to accept a 2 year position as chief of a large conservation demonstration project after which he returned to Pocatello to live. Willard and Grace were married for thirty years until her death in 1991, living in Riverton and Rock Springs Wyoming, Huron South Dakota and Pocatello Idaho. The living children remained in touch with "Dad" until he passed on.
Willard married Mary Poncinione in 1992 and lived with her in Maui Hawaii, Pocatello Idaho, and Champaign Village near Escondido California until her death in 2007. Nine months later he married Ruth McClain, his fifth wife who still resides near Escondido.
Throughout his life Willard sought to give every endeavor his best effort whether it was building a doll cradle for a granddaughter, showing kindness to a stranger, supervising a statewide conservation project or raking leaves. In striving for excellence himself, he often brought out the best in those around him. He will be remembered as a faithful friend, loving dad, larger than life grandpa, devoted husband, gifted inventor, diligent worker, quick to smile, able to have a genuine laugh at himself, never building himself up at someone else's expense. Those who share his faith rejoice in the assurance that he has heard the words of his Savior; "Well done good and faithful servant . . . Enter into the joy of your Lord."
Willard is survived by his wife Ruth, brother Roger Youtz and sister Harriet Lewis ("Bink").
He is survived by his children Gayle (Sheryl) Lain, Connie Lain, John (Kam) Stoll, Gaylynne Winckler, Sonja (Stan) Geyer, Carol (Curtis) Cornelison, David (Wilma) Youtz, Bethann (Peter) Matousek. He also has 27 grandchildren, many great grandchildren and a few great great grandchildren, as well as many nieces and nephews, and friends. He was preceded in death by 3 children, Douglas Stoll, Barbara Barker and Joe Stoll. Three brothers, Donald, Hewitt and Kenneth.
Funeral services will be held on Monday, July 14, 2014 at 11:00 a.m. in the Cornelison Funeral Chapel, 431 North 15th Ave. Pocatello, where the family will receive friends from 10 a.m. until service time. Interment will follow in the Mountain View Cemetery with Military graveside rites by the Pocatello Veterans Honor Guard. Arrangements are under the direction of the Cornelison Funeral Home, 431 N. 15th Ave., Pocatello, 232-0542. His advice was "if you wish to give a memory gift, simply give it to your church or a Christian charity."
Condolences may be sent to the family online at www.cornelisonfh.com.


Funeral Home
Cornelison-Henderson Funeral Home
431 N 15Th Ave
Pocatello, ID 83201
(208) 232-0542
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Published in Idaho State Journal from July 11 to July 13, 2014
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