Text Size:   A+ A- A   •   Text Only
Site Image
Press Release
May 23, 2001
National Guard mourns the loss of Maj. Gen. (Ret) Willard K. Carey
LA GRANDE—The Oregon National Guard community is saddened by the death of Maj. Gen. (Ret) Willard K. Carey on Saturday, May 19, 2001, from lung cancer. He was born in LaGrande, Ore., on Nov. 27, 1929.
Carey began his service to the Army National Guard in 1948 as an enlisted soldier. He spent more than two years as an enlisted soldier and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the infantry in 1951. His promotion to captain and subsequent command of Company E, 2nd Battalion, 186th Infantry, 41st Division, came eight years after enlistment.
Carey’s duty assignments included: deputy commanding general (reserve components), Sixth United States Army, the Presidio, Calif., from Feb. 4, 1985 to July 1, 1987; deputy adjutant general, assistant adjutant general and commanding general, Oregon Army National Guard; commander, 41st Infantry Brigade, 7th Infantry Division; deputy brigade commander, 41st Infantry Brigade; 82nd Support Center (RAO) commander; area damage control task force center commander; and the list goes on. Carey possessed the most extensive command background in the Oregon Army National Guard when he retired after 35 years and seven months of commissioned service.
He was president of the National Guard Association of Oregon and served 12 years on the executive council of the National Guard Association of the United States. He was appointed by the Secretary of the Army to serve on the Armed Forces Reserve Policy Board in Washington, D.C.
His awards and decorations include: the Legion of Merit; the Oregon Distinguished Service Medal; the Army Meritorious Service Medal; the Army Commendation Medal; the Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal with three oak leaf clusters; the Armed Forces Reserve Medal with two devices; the Armed Services Medal; the Oregon Exceptional Service Medal; the Oregon Meritorious Service Medal and the Oregon Faithful Service Medal (35 years).
Carey was selected as the first member of the Oregon hall of fame as a distinguished member of the 186th Infantry Regiment. In 1995, he was inducted into the 41st Infantry Brigade hall of honor.
Carey graduated from the University of Oregon with a bachelor of science degree in business administration in 1952 serving as the president of the student body, and he received a doctor of jurisprudence degree from Willamette University College of Law in 1956.
During his college and law school years, he was president of Phi Delta Phi; Phi Kappa Psi and Thelta Delta Phi, and was selected as a friar at the University of Oregon.
Carey also had an exceptionally outstanding civilian career. He was in the private practice of law for more than 40 years and had been the senior partner in the law firm of Carey, Joseph and Mendiguren in LaGrande, Ore. He was a former member of the board of directors of the University of Oregon Alumni Association, served on the board of governors of the Oregon State Bar (1972-1975), and was a vestryman and senior warden of St. Peters Episcopal Church.
Carey was a past president of the Eastern Oregon State College Foundation (1966-1970), the Union-Wallowa County Bar Association, the LaGrande United Good Neighbors, and the LaGrande-Union County Chamber of Commerce. He was also president of Anthony Lakes Ski Corporation (1977-1982) and the LaGrande Industrial Development Corporation (1975-1982). In 1982, Eastern Oregon State College honored him with its distinguished alumni award. After serving many years on the board of trustees of the Grande Ronde Hospital, he was elected as chairman of the board, completing his service as president of the board of trustees in December 1985. In January 1986, he was elected as president of the newly-created hospital corporation known as the Grande Ronde Development Community. In the 1990s, he served as a member and president of the board of directors of Vacation Internationale.
Carey’s service in the community was recognized twice with the Jaycee’s distinguished service award, and he was named "man of the year" by the LaGrande-Union County Chamber of Commerce in 1966 and 1986.
Carey was preceded in death by his parents, Robert Reid Carey and Julia Hopkins Carey, formerly of LaGrande. Survivors include his wife, Audrey of LaGrande; children, Natalie Carey-Payne of LaGrande, and Bob and Will Carey both of Portland; grandsons, John, Brendan and Jack Carey, of Portland, and Steven Payne, of LaGrande; brother, Robert Hopkins Carey of Lake Oswego; and mother-in-law, Beatrice Lane of LaGrande.
Memorial services will be held at the LaGrande National Guard Armory, 404 12th Street, LaGrande, Ore., on Saturday, June 2, 2001, at 12 p.m., and will include full military honors.
Memorials may be made to the Eastern Oregon University, MG Willard K. Carey Scholarship Fund, c/o Daniels Funeral Chapel, 1502 7th Street, LaGrande, OR 97850.
For more information contact:
Kay Fristad
(503) 945-3917