William "Bill" Earl Braye, Jr., 92, of Mountain Home, passed away on Dec. 31, 2009, at the Boise VA Hospital.
A viewing will be held from 4-7 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 4, at Rost Funeral Home, McMurtrey Chapel. Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2010, at Rost Funeral Home, McMurtrey Chapel followed by burial with military honors by the American Legion Post #26 at Mountain View Cemetery in Mountain Home.
Bill was born on March 31, 1917, in Santa Monica, Calif., the son of William and Matilda Braye. He lived a very hard life as a boy, moving and living with several relatives and friends while going to school and working various part-time jobs to support himself and family.
As a member of the California National Guard, Bill was inducted into the regular Army and transferred to Fort Lewis, Wash., in February of 1941 for training. On Sept. 26, 1941, he arrived in Manila as a member of the U.S. Army's 194th Tank Battalion, assigned to protect Clark Field (Army Air Field) north of Manila. After the attack on Pearl Harbor and the Japanese invasion of the Philippines, the 194th Tank Battalion participated in the defense of the Bataan Peninsula. On April 9, 1942, Bill, as one of the defenders of Bataan under Maj. Gen. King, surrendered to the Japanese Army.
As a prisoner of the Japanese, Bill was forced to walk the infamous "Bataan Death March' and subsequently spent the remaining war years in prison camps both in the Philippines and Japan. After the end of WWII, in Tokyo, Bill testified as part of the Japanese War Crime Trials. Bill retired after 28 years in the Army as a CWO3.
In 1966, Bill joined the American Red Cross, spent two years actively supporting service personnel in Vietnam, and worked as a Regional Field Director and a U.S. member of the International Red Cross for disaster support in South America. Bill retired from the Red Cross service in 1982 while stationed at Mountain Home Air Force Base.
Bill has made Mountain Home his home since 1980.
Bill is survived by his wife, Geraldyne, daughter Kelline of Mountain Home, son Loren and wife Harriet of Arizona, a son James and his wife, Carol, of Washington, a son Douglas and his wife, Stacy, of California, a sister ,Josephine Munoz, and husband Raymond, of California, and half brother Roy of California, four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife, Phyllis, and a twin brother.