William J. Ely

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
William J. Ely
Birth name William Jonas Ely Jr.
Born (1911-12-29)December 29, 1911
Sycamore, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Died September 20, 2017(2017-09-20) (aged 105)
Delray Beach, Florida, U.S.
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1933–1966
Rank Lieutenant General
Battles/wars World War II
Awards Army Distinguished Service Medal
Silver Star
Bronze Star
Legions of Merit x2

William Jonas Ely Jr. (December 29, 1911 – September 20, 2017) was a lieutenant general in the United States Army. He was a 1933 graduate of the United States Military Academy and earned a master's degree in civil engineering from Cornell University in 1936. He served during World War II with the United States Army, and was stationed in Australia, New Guinea, the Philippines and Japan. He also served with the United States Army Corps of Engineers in the 1930s, in the Midway Islands. He was a Deputy Commanding General of the Army Development & Logistic Command and Deputy Commander of the U.S. Army Materiel Command.

Ely was born in Sycamore, Pennsylvania, the son of J. Ross and Frances D. Ely.[1] His awards included the Army Distinguished Service Medal, Silver Star, Bronze Star, and two Legions of Merit.[2] After his retirement, Ely, who was an avid golfer,[3] designed, constructed and operated the Double Dam Golf Course near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.[4] He won 10 championships, had nine hole-in-ones and shot his age more than 2000 times. He gave up golf when he turned 100 in 2011.

Personal life[edit]

At the time of his death, Ely was the oldest living graduate of West Point.[5][6] Ely was married to Helen Mountford from February 10, 1940[7] until March 25, 2014, when she died at the age of 100.[8] He completed his autobiography, "The Oldest Living Graduate", at 103 years of age and resided at a nursing home in Delray Beach, Florida. At the age of 105, Ely returned to West Point for the academy's May 2017 alumni review.[9][10]

Ely died on September 20, 2017 at the age of 105.[11][12]


  1. ^ "Who's who in Engineering - Google Books". Books.google.ca. 2009-03-19. Retrieved 2017-09-23. 
  2. ^ William Jonas Ely. "Valor awards for William Jonas Ely". Valor.militarytimes.com. Retrieved 2017-09-23. 
  3. ^ Seelig, Rebecca. "At 98 years old, Bill Ely has shot his age more than 2,000 times", Examiner.com, December 17, 2010. Accessed January 2, 2015.
  4. ^ Chris Togneri (2013-05-28). "At 101, former Claysville man organizes golf event benefiting vets". TribLIVE. Retrieved 2017-09-23. 
  5. ^ "Oldest Living West Point Graduate Turns 103". Growingbolder.com. 1999-02-22. Retrieved 2017-09-23. 
  6. ^ Gottesman, Marisa (2014-12-28). "Delray Beach resident, Army veteran celebrates 103rd birthday". Sun-Sentinel. Tribune Publishing. Retrieved 2015-01-05. 
  7. ^ "West Point Association of Graduates". Westpointaog.org. Retrieved 2017-09-23. 
  8. ^ "Helen ELY Obituary - Boynton Beach, FL | The Palm Beach Post". Legacy.com. Retrieved 2017-09-23. 
  9. ^ Cox-Henry, Joanie (20 June 2017). "Delray Beach man, 105, returns to West Point". Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved 23 August 2017. 
  10. ^ Panzino, Charlsy (23 May 2017). "'Once in a lifetime': Oldest living West Point grad returns to academy after 84 years". Army Times. Retrieved 23 August 2017. Although Ely's 85th reunion is next year, he's the only remaining graduate from the Class of 1933 and was invited to this year's festivities. 
  11. ^ "West Point's oldest graduate dies at 105". Sun Sentinel. Retrieved 2017-09-23. 
  12. ^ William J. Ely's obituary