Wilford Lee McConkey (Willie), 96, Passed away Oct 13, 2021 at Edgewood Assisted Living in Fruitland Idaho. He was born February 7, 1925 to Charles and Mattie (Nash) McConkey in the sandhills of Oshkosh, Nebraska in a sod house. The family moved from Nebraska to the Oregon Slope area near Ontario when he was 13. He went to school in Ontario. When he was 16, with his mother’s consent, he joined the US Navy, and served from 1942 to 1946 in the Pacific theater during WWII. He was a Seaman First Class Gunner on the SS Pulpit Rock, an oil tanker.
He married Pauline Adams in 1948, and they had 4 children. They later divorced, and he then married Jane Flegel Zittercob in 1965. They moved into a new house in Fruitland as newlyweds with 5 teenagers.
During his life he worked many jobs. He worked for the City of Ontario, in lumber mills in Payette, ID and Roseburg, OR., farmed alfalfa and milked cows on a dairy farm in New Plymouth, Idaho and managed a sheep farm in Notus, Idaho. He was also a truck driver and a heavy equipment operator.
From a young age he loved to dance. He also liked fishing, rockhounding for thunder eggs, and racing stock cars in Ontario and Meridian. He was on several bowling leagues too. He enjoyed woodworking. He made several clocks and other wood projects. He loved his yard and garden, especially growing roses. After he retired, they spent a lot of time at their property in Sumpter, OR. Jane and Willie were Camp Hosts at various campgrounds around Oregon for 12 years. He served in about every capacity in VFW and was the Commander at Post 5452 in Ontario from 2003 – 2004. He was also a Past President of Ontario's Senior Center. In 2016, he was selected to attend an Honor Flight (Idaho Honor Flight) with other WWII veterans to Washington DC to visit the WWII memorial and other war memorials. There he was finally willing to talk about his wartime experiences with fellow veterans. The visit to the WWII memorial was a moving experience for him.
Willie was loved by all that came to know him. He was that guy that everyone wanted to be around. He loved his wife, children and all his nieces and nephews. He especially loved his grandchildren and getting to spend time with them was a blessing. His family loved him dearly and will treasure the memories we have with him.
He is survived by his wife Jane McConkey of Fruitland, a son Dennis McConkey (Tammie) of Spokane WA, Daughter Ginger Schlegel (Steve) of Union OR, Daughter Susie Solbach (Ed) of Vancouver, WA, Daughter Annette Martel (Dennis) of Burlington, VT, Stepdaughter Jan Troutner of Middleton, ID, and Stepson John Zittercob (Cheryl) of Spokane, WA., 17 Grandkids, and many Great Grandkids as well as many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Charles and Mattie McConkey, his brother Max McConkey, and a stepson Jerry Zittercob. A graveside service will be planned at a later date. Donations can be made to Canyon County Hospice.
Services are under the direction of the Haren-Wood Funeral Chapel, Payette.
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