Stories of William E. Wynne Sr.

Builders,

Below are excerpts from stories of my father. You can read the whole piece by clicking on the blue link. My Father never thought of himself as heroic nor special. He only wanted to be understood as part of a generation of men, who were willing to meet the challenges of their times, no matter what the cost.

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“On this day, I hope that everyone has a chance to reflect on good memories of the men who made us who we are, both the fathers still here and those that now live in the hearts of their children”. – Fathers Day – 2014.

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William E. Wynne Sr. 1925-2017 – “Shipmates of my father, even ones who gave their lives very young, had lives of meaning because they considered it their privilege to have served a cause greater than self.”

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Welcome to Existence – “It was somber, but not sorrowful, as the latter requires an element of unfairness that leaves you asking why or wondering what might have been done. My fathers life had neither of those elements.”

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Patriotism has no Party  – “The dreams are rooted in memories, unwanted souvenirs that followed him home from three wars and 33 years on active duty.  It is a near endless macabre library of images awaiting his eyes to close:”

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Values of my Father – “Father’s unambiguous code of ethics, one that dictated that ethical behavior was done simply because it was right, and any expectation of reward, even as small as public praise, reduced the action to a child’s understanding of right and wrong.”

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A clarification and a century old story. – “He didn’t want his son to see him this way, he didn’t look at my father, he just said “Take care of yourself.” My father, then 26, knowing nothing else to do, followed his fathers words, and badly shaken, got into the taxi. It was the last real moment they would have together”

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A Sailor’s code from the 1940s and 50s. – “There were a few brief years where it looked like my grandfathers one wish in life, that his son would not see what he had seen in WWI, might come true, but this didn’t last.”

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Thought for The Day – Have we squandered the great gift? – “When I can take no more, I put my hand on his, and impulsively say “I am sorry”. For a moment he looks in my eyes to assess if I really understand what the gift cost.”

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Italo Balbo in 1933, an 83 year old family story. – “He was my fathers grandfather, The father of the 34 year old woman in front of him. He had walked out on his own family 30 years earlier. My Grandmother was not there to forgive him. She was there to show him the family he would never know.”

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William Edward Wynne Sr. –  Father’s Day Notes – “My Father’s 33 years in uniform were guided by a single principal: No human being, regardless of race, faith or nationality, deserves to live in a totalitarian police state.

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William Wynne Sr. Turns 89 today – “To our friends fortunate to still have their fathers present, I feel blessed as you must also. To our friends who’s fathers now live in their hearts, I hope the season brings time to reflect on the men who made us who we are.”

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Happy Father’s Day William E. Wynne Sr.– “While all of Thailand’s neighbors, Burma, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, fell into savage rule by communist totalitarian regimes that ran from repressive police states to genocide, the Thai people were spared this trip to hell. My father remains very proud of the role he played in preventing their enslavement.”

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My best afternoon in 2016  – “Grace spent the afternoon pictured above listening to my father recall both moments of humor and sacrifice, names of men who raised good families and those who’s devotion to duty and shipmates cost them all they might have done in this life.”

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Thought for the Day: America, 1963 – “he sat with my brother, then 14, and gave him a short set of instructions; He was to follow my mother, without question or hesitation; he was to remain positive at all times, school and at home, set an example for us; and if my father did not return, he would then be the eldest man in the family.

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MCW is 60 today. – “I carry my father’s name, but truth be told, Michael is much more like my father than I am. In all the ways that count, all the qualities of character, my brother’s life is a much better tribute to the sterling example that our father gave to both of us.”

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Mom and Dad in the 1950’s _ “A while back, a friend who has known me for many years asked why I never buy lottery tickets. I told him it was because I had won once already. He asked “When?” surprised he had never heard this. I told him it was a long time ago, the last week of December ….1962, when I was born to my parents.”

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New Jersey, June 2015 and 65 years ago …  “my father, now almost 90 and somewhat frail, took the last hour of the evening to meet an obligation he finds very important;  I sit beside him and listen while he looks back through the decades to remember and speak the names and the stories of good men”

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Political Reality Check –  “Tonight I share a New York Times obituary and a disturbing souvenir from the Wynne family china cabinet as a reminder of what real political evil actually is.”

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USN sea story. – Dad, powerless, watched a perfectly choreographed maneuver fall apart.  He noticed the Japanese officer standing next to him staring incredulously. Evidently he had a very hard time rationalizing how his nation has just lost a war to clowns like these.

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Thought for the Day: Rickover – Hope is not a strategy – “my father worked directly under Rickover for 7 and 1/2 years, developing nuclear power plants. Rickover was the head of Naval Reactors, an organization that reported to both the Navy and the Atomic Energy commission.”

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How many flying seasons? With whom will you spend them? – “A good look at my oldest friends reveals no pattern nor qualification, bar a single important issue: None of them are negative people. I have a whole page devoted to explaining that it was my Father who conditioned me to detest critics of other men’s works.”

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Dec. 7th  ” my father was stunned to see Frank Ryan, standing in front of him in Passaic. He was emaciated and ill, his uniform hanging on him. He could only say to my father “Billy, they got the Vincennes.” Although it was sunk in August, this was the first word. It was the first moment that my fathers simple pride in the Navy had to confront that the fleet was not invincible. With growing foreboding, my father realized the lack of contact from friends on the Juneau might be for the same reason. In another week this was confirmed on the eve of Christmas. All 23 of the teammates and the 5 Sullivan’s had gone down with the ship. Of 697 crew on board, there were only 10 survivors. This event led my father to Join the Navy when he turned  17. He eventually spent 33 years on active duty.”

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Holiday Hours, shop dates, Family notes. – “They were searching for a shadow of doubt that they would not find. I gently hung up the phone each time and felt a palpable mixture of luck and guilt that I would keep my father and they would probably never see theirs again. Their voices contained a desperation that stays with you even 10 years later.”

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On July 14th 2016, I wrote this note:

“Today was a good day for my family. It was the first day my father was home in three months.  After dinner, where he was restored to sitting at the head of the family table,  we  reminisced over past moments with 3 of the 4 children present. We later put dad to bed, and the last thing he softly said was “I didn’t think I would make it home again.”

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On February 12th 2017, My Fathers one remaining wish in life was granted, and in the early hours of the morning he quietly passed, at home, surrounded by family. One of the last things he said to me was a few soft words, dreaming of a reunion with a man he had not seen in 57 years – his own Father.

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-wwjr.

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About William Wynne
I have been continuously building, testing and flying Corvair engines since 1989. Information, parts and components that we developed and tested are now flying on several hundred Corvair powered aircraft. I earned a Bachelor of Science in Professional Aeronautics and an A&P license from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and have a proven 20 year track record of effectively teaching homebuilders how to create and fly their own Corvair powered planes. Much of this is chronicled at www.FlyCorvair.com and in more than 50 magazine articles.

2 Responses to Stories of William E. Wynne Sr.

  1. Dan Branstrom says:

    Thank you for all the stories of your father that you have shared with us. He lives on in them.

  2. Steve says:

    My first thought is I’m sorry I didn’t know him. However I do. Thank you for sharing him with us.

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