Retired game warden and WWII hero, Bill Slawson, passed away naturally at home, according to his wishes, on Saturday June13, 2015 in the company of his loving wife, Jane Rutledge Slawson and his beloved dogs Sarge, Biscuit and Cody, who never left his side. Bill is also survived by his two children, Shirley Williamson (Butch) and April Slawson, from his first marriage to Dorothy, and his granddaughter, Megan Tillis.|
A true lover of nature, Bill explained that he was headed to Crow Heaven. Bill's funeral services will be held at the National Cemetery in Dixon, 5810 Midway Road, Dixon, Ca 95620 on Thursday, July 9 , 2015 at 1:00 p.m. There will be a reception
following the service at Walnut Grove Fire District Station 96 .located at 14160 Grove St., Walnut Grove, Ca 95690
Bill was born in 1924 and grew up in Vallejo, Ca. "Back then in Vallejo, if we didn't hunt for food we couldn't eat," he said. "We were poor." As a youth who was proficient at hunting and fishing, he became a Junior Game Patrol volunteer with the Department of Fish and Game in 1940. In 1943, at the start of WWll, he quit high school to join the Marines but his father refused to let him join so Bill pursued a job with California Division of Fish and Game and was hired as a full time employee. Later that same year he was drafted into the U.S. Army. Like many wardens, Bill was a great storyteller. Anyone who sat down with Bill and asked him to tell a story was in for a treat.
Warden Bill Slawson retired after over 40 years service to the State of California, and continued to serve his community, county and state, he was recognized by the California State Assembly for his service to the state, the Sacramento Sheriff's Dept.for hundreds of volunteer hours to the County, and received a Lifetime Service Award from the Walnut Grove Rotary. Bill also served as Commander of Rio Vista American Legion Post 178.
Bill Slawson's life was defined by his strong sense of duty and service. A highly intelligent and humble man, he was the kind of hero who disavowed the title, stating "It's no big deal, I just happened to be there at the right time. I ain't no damn war hero".
Drafted into the Army during the second world war,as a teenager, he volunteered and was accepted into the first ever Special Service Force training.
Bill became a member of the most elite unit of commandos, the First Special Service Force (FSSF), a group of soldiers from the United States and Canada formed when Churchill called on FDR to recruit intelligent, athletic, highly disciplined rangers . Bill was a light machine gunner in the infantry assault unit known as "the Devil's Brigade", called the "Black Devils" by the enemy for leading nighttime missions in the alps, their faces blackened with boot polish. At Anzio, Italy they fought 99 days straight before moving on to liberate Rome and the Nazi-occupied towns of southern France. From November 1943 to December 1944 the unit, numbering 1800 soldiers, won every battle they fought, capturing over 30,000 enemy P.O.W.s.
After deactivation, Bill joined the 82nd Airborne Division of the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, Co.D. He helped defeat the Germans in the Battle of the Bulge, suffering freezing injuries from which he suffered throughout his life.
Among Bill's military commendations are:
PURPLE HEART, BRONZE STAR, EUROPEAN AFRICAN MIDDLE EASTERN CAMPAIGN MEDAL, GOOD CONDUCT MEDAL, WWll VICTORY MEDAL, BELGIAN FOURRAGERE, CANADIAN PARACHUTE WINGS WITH SILVER MAPLE LEAF, MEMBER OF THE 505 PARACHUTE RCT ASSOCIATION INFANTRY, COMBAT TEAM 82ND AIRBORNE DIVISION "PANTHERS", FIRST SPECIAL SERVICE FORCE CONGRESSIONAL GOLD MEDAL
Donations in memory of Bill may be made to The Walnut Grove Fire Department or the
Published in Lodi News-Sentinel from July 4 to July 11, 2015