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June 13, 1926-Oct. 26, 2010

Jean Silbaugh Willard, 84, died peacefully Tuesday morning, Oct. 26, 2010, at Kitty Askins Hospice Center in Goldsboro.

The family will celebrate her life in a private ceremony.

Her son, Garry Aaron Willard III, and her daughter, Carolyn Willard Montgomery, were by her side during her time there.

Her family is forever grateful to the staff at Kitty Askins for its compassionate and loving support.

Jean was born June 13, 1926, in Republic, Pa., to Carolyn and Marshall Silbaugh, and grew up in Uniontown, Pa., and New York City.

A graduate of Traphagen School of Design in New York City, she was a fashion designer, who had a keen sense of style, art and fashion. Those talents live on through her children and grandchildren, many of whom are working artists and designers in their own right.

Jean was one of the first women to enlist in the Women in the Air Force (WAF) when women were first allowed to serve directly in the military.

While based at Lackland in San Antonio, Texas, she met her future husband, cadet Garry A. Willard Jr., who went on to become a brigadier general.

A striking beauty, Jean was crowned Miss Randolph Field and Miss Sadie Hawkins while based there.

Upon her marriage to Garry, she received an honorable discharge, and went on to live in many fascinating places as an Air Force wife and mother of two children.

Jean and her family arrived in Goldsboro in 1956 as one of the first Air Force families to be stationed at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base. After their divorce, she remained in Goldsboro to raise her children.

When Jean's beloved mother, Carolyn, retired, she moved to Goldsboro to live as "three generations under one roof," with Jean, son Garry and daughter Carolyn. That was a special time in all of their lives.

Jean had a great sense of humor, loved to dance and loved to dress up. In her day, she was a wonderful cook and hostess -- and nobody left the table hungry.

She loved to volunteer her time to worthy causes, including Wayne Memorial Hospital, Goldsboro High School and the Wayne County Humane Society. Her love of and commitment to the fair treatment of animals were her hallmark.

She leaves a loving legacy on both coasts with son Garry and his wife, Sharon, of Raleigh, and children, Alyssa Willard of Raleigh, Courtney Harwood and husband, Clay, of Greenville and Shae Noffsinger and husband, Chris, of Raleigh; great-grandsons, Jackson Harwood, Max Noffsinsger and Luke Noffsinger; daughter Carolyn Montgomery of California and children Alexis Montgomery-Freiberg and husband, Michael, of Los Angeles, Julia Montgomery and partner, Elisa Barquete, of Venice, Calif., and Katie Montgomery of Portland, Ore. She also leaves behind her devoted and dear friend, Shirley Collier of Micro.

We miss you, Mama/Grandma/Jean.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations in her memory to Kitty Askins Hospice Center of Goldsboro or WOOFF Inc.


Published in Obituaries on November 14, 2010 10:45 AM