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Wilhelm "Willie" Martin Reese, Jr.

November 26, 1927 July 28, 2015
Wilhelm "Willie" Martin Reese, Jr.
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Obituary for Wilhelm "Willie" Martin Reese, Jr.
Wilhelm “Willie” Martin Reese, Jr., 88, of Brookings, Ore., died July 28, 2015 at home with his long time partner Leonette “Lee” Rice. Though sadness fills our hearts, we have joy knowing he was a Christian and is now enjoying eternal life. God said He would turn our mourning into joy. Wilhelm and Lee were enjoying their latter years together in peace; peace was very important to them Wilhelm’s favorite saying was that we all should smile at least once a day. He had the most beautiful smile. Wilhelm was born November 26, 1927 in Rotterdam, Holland. When he was 1, his family moved to their homeland: Kiel, Germany where Wilhelm lived until war broke out there. He was drafted at the age of 16 and served during WWII. He later married Elsa. They had three children and, in 1958, immigrated to the United States. Wilhelm had $500 in his pocket. Landing in New York City, the family then traveled by train to Pocatello, Idaho where they lived for a year. Wilhelm worked on a chicken farm until he had saved enough money to buy a car and move his family to Van Nuys, Calif. There he worked as a typewriter repair person, later purchasing his own business repairing typewriters, selling German radio products and working for IBM. The dream of becoming an American was in his heart and he lived a long and productive life in the in the United States. Wilhelm never hesitated to tell people how much love and respect he had for America. He was so proud to be an American. Flags were very important to him and displayed in his home. In the years that followed, he married his second wife, Estella “Teto”, the love of his life. Prior to Teto’s death in 1991 due to cancer, they made many trips to the Rogue River in the summer and the beauty of the area brought them back to Brookings year after year until they retired. After Teto’s death in 1991, Wilhelm later met and married Francis. Wilhelm and Francis retired to Brookings where they lived for over 17 years. Wilhelm enjoyed every minute of his life. Even with all the hardships of wars as a young child, never really having a childhood, being captured and held as POW and escaping, he still lived with the hope of a future in the United States of America. His love of the USA was deep in his heart. Even in his later years, he reminded his family how America had helped Germany after the war. Wilhelm was a loving man who would help anyone asking or needing assistance. He had a heart for God and before passing recommitted his life to Jesus Christ. Survivors include Leonette “Lee” Rice, his partner of Harbor, Ore., sons, Wilhelm Reese III of Germany, Peter Reese of Shell Beach, Calif., stepdaughter, Susan Swift of Santa Clarita, Calif., sister, Christel Plaumann of Dusseldorf, Germany, three grandchildren (and a fourth to be born in January 2016), one great grandchild, sister-in-law, Lisa Reese of Lubeck, Germany, cousins, Hermann and Claudia Reese of Herbruck, Germany, nephew, Lutz Reese and his wife, Iris of Lubeck, Germany, niece, Heike Bedick and her husband, Mike of Broomfield, Colo., very close family, Stephen Orendorff, Joyce and their four children including one named after Wilhelm of Wasco, Ore. In addition to two wives, Wilhelm was preceded in death by his father and mother, sister, Jenny Klingenberg, brother, Hermann Reese, brothers-in-law, Werner Plaumann and Gary Klingenberg and his former wife, Elsa Reese. Wilhelm will be missed; however, soon we will be joined in Heaven with Jesus Christ. A private graveside service will be held at Los Osos Memorial Park in Los Osos, Calif. Redwood Memorial Chapel is assisting the family. Condolences may be expressed online at
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