William "Dee" (Bill) Gammon passed away on April 10 at the family home surrounded by family after a lengthy battle with Alzheimer's disease. He was born April 25, 1919, to W.W. "Bill" and Nora (Pinckard) Gammon at Georgia Ridge, Alma, Ark. He attended Sophie Meyer Grade School and Van Buren High School. Bill enlisted in the Army in 1938 and was stationed at Fort Sill, Okla., as part of the 18th Field Artillery Unit. Reenlisting in the Army after Pearl Harbor, he volunteered for the 101st Airborne "Screaming Eagles." He parachuted into France on D-Day 1944 and into Holland during operation Market Garden. He was at Bastogne, Belgium, during the Battle of the Bulge and participated in all the battles of World War II in which the 101st was involved. He held sergeant's chevrons, a parachutist's badge (two combat jump stars) and the artillery insignia. He was also awarded the American Defense Medal, American Theater Medal, European Theater Medal (assault landing "arrowhead" and four Battle Stars), the World War II Victory Medal and the Occupation Forces Medal from Germany. His units awards were the oak leaf cluster, U.S. Presidential Unit Citation, France Croix DeGuerre, Netherlands Orange Lanyard, Belgium Fourragere, Belgium Croix De Guerre.
He was discharged from the military for the second time in 1945 and worked in the missile fields at Fort Worth and El Paso, Texas, until he retired in 1980. He was a lifetime member of the 101st Airborne Division Association and a member of the TALON Chapter. He is survived by his wife of 35 years, Linda Anderson Gammon, his son, Geoffrey Gammon, of Mulberry, Alaska; his step-daughters Sara Knight (Duke), Sandra Swann, and his step-son James Swann (Valerie), all of New Mexico. He is also survived by 12 grandchildren, Dyana, Charles and Ethan (Vanessa) Pirtle; Cameron Knight; Ryan, Donovan, Shane and Justin Swann; Joseph A. Lopez II; Monica, Daniel and Marissa Swann. He is also survived by great-grandchildren; Hana and Guin Ottesen and Robert Thomas Pirtle. All will remember and miss their "Papa Bill."
Cremation has taken place with La Paz-Graham's Funeral Home. Plans for a private memorial service in the future have not been finalized. Bill's family would like to give a special thanks to Mesilla Valley Hospice and especially nurse Ariel Nunez for his help and comfort.
In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made in his name to Mesilla Valley Hospice, 299 E. Montana Ave., LC, NM 88005, so that they may continue to comfort other families as they did ours. To send condolences, please log on to www.lapaz-grahams.com