Willie Ree was the only child born to the union of Munch McKamie, Jr. and Hallard B. Jones McKamie. He was born February 16,1925 in Texarkana, Arkansas.
A loving God who makes no mistakes saw fit to take him from labor to reward on May 20, 2012 after a short illness.
Willie, known as "Bill" attended public schools in Texarkana, Arkansas, Texas and Kansas City, Kansas. In 1941 at the age of 16 he entered his student Pilot License.
He entered the United State Navy on February 16, 1942 at the age of 17 and despite having a Pilot License, like doris "Dorie" Miller and many other African-Americans Bill began his military career as a Mess Attendant due to racial segregation in the Navy at the time.
He entered the United States Navy on February 16, 1942 and served throughout World War II. He was stationed in Europe, North Africa and the Phillippines. He was discharged in 1946 and returned to Kansas City, Kansas, where he entered Sumner Junior College later transferring to the Milwaukee School of Engineering, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Willie was recalled to active duty during the Korean War for duty aboard the U.S.S. Haven, a naval hospital ship. The ship and its crew was awarded commendations by the South Korean and United States Presidents for service in that war between September 1950 until October 1951.
Despite hurdles of racial discrimination Bill rose to the rank of Chief Petty Officer. To become a "Chief" he had to be ranked as one of the best by a Navy Board of selection. After his selection he was then officially authorized by Congress to be called a Chief Petty Officer. As a Chief he was specifically tasked with the duty of training junior officers (Ensigns to Lieutenant Commanders).
He returned to his job as a letter carrier for the United States Post Office in Kansas City, Kansas after being released from active duty. Willie returned to active duty in October 1954 and served at various U.S. Naval Air Stations throughout the country.
Willie reired from active military service on January 10, 1969 at U.S. Naval Station in Atlanta, Georigia. He returned to the Post Office in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He left the post office for a position with Control Data Corporation, a computer manufacturing company.
Willie retired from Control Data on June 30, 1987 as a Material Coordinator. He is a member of the Milwaukee School of Engineering Alumni Association, The Fleet Reserve Association, and Viking Branch 136. Willie is a graduate of the Naval Chief Petty Officer Academy, Pensacola Naval Air Station in Florida.
He is survived by his four sons, Vonzell McKamie, Kansas City, KS, Attorney and CAPT. Reginald E. McKamie, Sr, USN (Ret.), Houston, TX, Hal K McKamie, St. Paul, MN, Sean McKamie (Lynelle), St. Paul, MN. Two daughters, Rhonda McKamie, Atlanta, GA, Patricia McCoy-Cage (Otis), Atlanta, GA. One daughter preceded him in death, Valerie McKamie. Thirteen grand-children, six great grand, one beloved first cousin, Mornette Hicks-Gregory, Kansas City MO, and a special friend and caregiver, Ms. Lena Lamb.
Born: February 16, 1925
Death: May 20, 2012
This memorial provided by:
Carl Barnes Funeral Home