William August Best obituary photo
 
In Memory of

William August Best

August 17, 1920 - March 26, 2015

Obituary


William August "Bill" Best, Captain USMCR Retired, age 94, died on Thursday, March 26 at his residence at The Landing in Williamsburg, VA. He died peacefully in his sleep after declining health.

He was born August 17, 1920 in Westfield, NJ. to Frederick and Alice Lundelius Best. There he grew up on Brightwood Avenue with his sister, Marion, and brothers Fred and Dick. His family also spent memorable summers on Cranberry Lake, NJ. In 1939, while a sophomore at Dartmouth College, he joined the Marine Reserves and was called to Active Duty after the...

William August "Bill" Best, Captain USMCR Retired, age 94, died on Thursday, March 26 at his residence at The Landing in Williamsburg, VA. He died peacefully in his sleep after declining health.

He was born August 17, 1920 in Westfield, NJ. to Frederick and Alice Lundelius Best. There he grew up on Brightwood Avenue with his sister, Marion, and brothers Fred and Dick. His family also spent memorable summers on Cranberry Lake, NJ. In 1939, while a sophomore at Dartmouth College, he joined the Marine Reserves and was called to Active Duty after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Assigned to the 1st Marine Division 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing in San Diego, he was sent to Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands in 1942, where he served as communications officer. When he was sent to Auckland, NZ for a scheduled relief in April 1943, he met the love of his life, Marian Esther Punch whom he married January 21, 1944. After a brief honeymoon, she traveled on the Norwegian liner, M.V. Torrems, to live with his parents as a "war bride" while he completed active service. He was honorably discharged in 1946. They were married 70 years.

Employed at AT&T his entire career, he was assigned first to Washington, then Philadelphia, and in 1960, to New York. He and his growing family moved to Westfield where he and his four boys spent untold hours refurbishing their historic house on Kimball Avenue. During his final years with AT&T he worked on the anti-trust case against MCI.

Upon retirement in 1981, he first moved to Kill Devil Hills, NC. His engineering skills came in handy as he built a prefabricated "Deck" house on a hill overlooking Colington Harbor. He was also able to indulge his love of sailing on his trimaran Kiwi Magic. The trophy for the annual Albemarle 100 mile round trip race from Colington to Edenton , "The Quest for the Best" was named "The Bill Best Cup" in recognition of his many years of service to the Colington Harbor Yacht Club.

As one of the dwindling number of surviving soldiers, he attended the 50th anniversary of the Guadalcanal Campaign Veterans in Guadalcanal.
He spent the last fourteen years in Williamsburg at The Landing. He built a workroom, traveled to Europe and New Zealand, and attended the Norfolk Opera every season. He eventually lost his eyesight but listened to about 25 books a month on CD.

He was a dedicated family man who pursued many hobbies including restoring a 1969 XKE Jaguar, gardening, making beer and furniture, developing his own photographs, and actively studying genealogy of his Best roots. He is most proud of his time serving with Boy Scouts of America Troop 172, in Westfield, NJ, teaching his sons and the other boys camping, survival, boating, about stars and trees, and helping to run the Klondike Derby. Many summers with the troop were spent on the Saranac Lakes in NY State.

He will be remembered by his family as a hero, and as a kind and honorable man.

Bill is preceded in death by his sweetheart Marian just one year ago, and by sons Warwick (Rick), and Jeffrey. He is survived by children Kerry and her husband Raymond Johnson of Williamsburg, VA; Michael of Salisbury, CT; Peter and his wife Michele of Basking Ridge, NJ; Leslie and her husband Christopher Rich of Dobbs Ferry, NY; daughter-in-law Caroline Best of Lenexa, KS, and eight grandchildren.

There will be no service. Interment will be at Arlington National Cemetery later this summer with Full Military Honors.

Bill would be pleased to have any memorial donations sent to Patriots Path Council, The Boy Scouts of America, 1 Saddle Road, Cedar Knolls, NJ 07927.

The family would like to thank the staff at Woodhaven at the Landing, Heartland Hospice Care, and fellow Marine Howard Smith of Oleta Coach Lines for their caring attendance to Bill during his final days.

"Once a Marine Always a Marine"