William David Fudge Jr.
US Navy Seabees
William David Fudge Jr. better known as Bill, was born in Piedmont, Kansas, but grew up in the Augusta, KS area.
Growing up, he became well known as a Fiddler, playing for Barn Dances and other musical programs. That was a talent he shared until his death.
He married Sarah Louise Elliott and they had three children—Billie Fudge Wagner, Patricia Fudge Mulvaney and Eleanor Jean Fudge Plummer.
Bill was a mechanic by trade and owned a mechanics garage at Haverhill Corner.
When WW II broke out he was not eligible for the draft, but knew the military needed diesel mechanics so he enlisted in the Navy.
After boot camp at Norfolk, Virginia, he was assigned to the Seabees and shipped to the West Coast to Marine Camp Hueneme, to teach diesel mechanics.
The Seabees (Construction Battalion) were sent to the South Pacific to build runways on many of the Islands. The Marines would “take” the island, the Seabees would build the runways and the Air Force would have a landing strip for the progression of fighting across the Pacific Ocean.
After the War, Bill returned to Haverhill, but at his instructions, Louise had sold the shop.
Bill continued his Navy service in the Naval Reserves, attending meetings in Wichita.
A former Seabee, L. W. Newcomer, was County Engineer for Butler County, and knowing Bill’s training, recruited him to become foreman for the Butler County Highway Department. He oversaw the entire county road system and retained that position until his untimely death at the age of 63.
At the onset of the Korean War, Bill was called back to active duty. A new rule had just been released by the government, that if a service man still had three dependents at home, he was released from active duty. Bill retained his service in the Navy Reserves, retiring as a Chief Petty Officer.
Bill became a community volunteer, serving in the Local American Legion Post and the VFW. At his death, he was Senior Vice Commander of the VFW. He was also a member of the Odd Fellows Lodge and president of the Golden Age Club.
His fiddle talent was volunteered at the Senior Center, where he played for dances on a regular basis.
Bill ran an immaculate shop for the County and was a dedicated mechanic and administrator until his death from a heart attack.
Bill was a proud Veteran and was part of a family that served during and after the War. His younger brother, the late Grover W. Fudge was a Marine Raider, in the outfit that put the flag up on Iwo Jima. During WW II, he had other close relatives in the Air Force and Army.
His daughter, Billie, followed in her father’s footsteps and served in the U. S. Navy.
Other family veterans include son-in-law, Ben Plummer, Navy and the late Bill Mulvaney, Marines; grandson Mike Mulvaney and great grandson Logan Plummer, Marines; and son-in-law Roy Peters, a retired Navy Commander.
The family Military appreciation lives on in activities that recognize the service of all veterans.