McVey, William

William McVey Biography

C Company Marine William J. McVey joined the Corps on 1 Oct 1942 (per his PH news release provided by grandson Johnny Howarth) and joined C Company on 22 Nov 1942. He was promoted to PFC on 1 Nov 1943 then to CPL on 18 Apr 1944. He was wounded on Saipan 16 Jun 1944 and promoted to SGT on 31 Aug 1944. For his wound on Saipan he was awarded the Purple Heart on 1 Nov 1944. On 26 Feb 1945 he was wounded on Iwo Jima and was in the hospital until he rejoined the company on 28 Apr 1945. He was awarded the Gold Star on 24 Jun 1945 and then the Bronze Star for Iwo Jima on 23 Jul 1945.

His grandson was kind enough to fill in the rest of the story for us in 2012.

Sgt. William J. McVey as told by his grandson, Johnny Howarth, 2012.

It is with all of the honor and admiration in the world that I relay to you what I know of my grandfather.

While deployed with the Marines, Sgt. William McVey received letters from a young girl who he had never met, Marie Funcheon. The Knights of Columbus published the names and addresses of servicemen in their newsletter and asked civilians to write to them. Marie wrote to three men. Sgt. McVey wrote back. Throughout the war, they exchanged several letters and even exchanged pictures. Legend has it that when he received her picture while in Japan, he told his fellow men that he was going to go home and marry that girl. And he sure did.

Upon returning home to Philadelphia after the war had ended, Sgt. McVey drove to Marie's house dressed in his uniform. They began dating and married about three years later. They had ten - yes, ten - children together. McVey's first born, and his namesake, went on to become a soldier in the Army and served his country in Vietnam.

Unfortunately, Sgt. McVey passed away very suddenly of a heart attack in his sleep on December 8, 1978 at the age of 56. His body rests in Resurrection Cemetery in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, just outside of Philadelphia where he lived his entire life.

His wife, Marie, was left to take care of the ten children, the youngest of whom was fourteen at the time of his passing, by herself. Sgt. McVey only had the chance to meet two of his grandchildren. If alive today, he would be happy to know that he has thirty grandchildren, and by the grace of God his tenth great-grandchild will be born this March.

His wife Marie is still alive and just celebrated her 86th birthday this past September surrounded by her family. All of their children still live in the Philadelphia area and get together often for different family gatherings.

Currently, Sgt. McVey's grandson, Corporal Kevin J. Howard of the USMC is serving in Djibouti, Africa on a peacekeeping mission. Cpl. Howard proposed to his girlfriend before deploying and plans on marrying her when he returns. He is expected to return home this March. In addition to his grandson, Sgt. McVey would also be proud of Corporal Jason A. Hill who served in Iraq and Afghanistan during 2009-2010. Cpl. Hill is the husband of McVey's granddaughter, Jackie. They have two children together, their first child being born while Hill was serving in Iraq.