RIVESVILLE, W.Va. – Thomas Howard Wills Jr. was a former member of the U.S. Army, who served in Korea and Germany, before he decided to follow a family tradition of moving back to West Virginia to work in the coal mines.
Thomas died in 1962 in the Loveridge mine accident. At the time he was living in Paw Paw, West Virginia, and was only 31-years-old. Thomas was a Marion County native. His niece, Tammy Wills, who he never got the chance to ever meet him, made it her mission to make sure his name lives on in the area he grew up.
“I never got to meet him, because he passed away before I was born,” said Tammy. “He did serve during Korea, he served at Camp Roberts in California with the Lucky 7th Armory Division. He also went on to serve in Germany.”
It took Tammy many years to gather all the information she has now about her uncle. Naming the bridge in her neighborhood where she was born and raised was an idea Tammy had for three years. With help from Rep. David McKinley and local delegates, this dream of hers became a reality.
“Delegate Caputo was all for it, and said they do this kind of thing all the time. All you have to do is get the neighborhood reaction, and some signatures and go from there,” said Tammy. “Unfortunately the first year he brought it up it did not pass, but the next year in 2020 it did. It means a lot, and its been a long process, and it’s just something to memorialize and remember my uncle by, and get his name out there.”
The sign honoring Thomas Howard Wills Jr. was put in place on July 31 2020. The bridge he is honored at is located off of Woods Run Rd. in Rivesville.