Photography

Colonel (Ret) William H Gavan

July 28, 1938 ~ September 6, 2021 (age 83)

Obituary

Colonel (Ret) William H. Gavan “Billy”, 83, passed away on Monday, September 6, 2021 at his home in Greensboro, GA.   

A rare and truly incredible husband, father, friend, and Soldier, he loved deeply and unconditionally; forever changing the lives while making an indelible impact on everyone he met. He always made you feel better about yourself, and you were always a little better after spending time with him; no matter the clay with which he had to work. A highly decorated Army Officer and an amazing story teller, leaving you mesmerized… remembering every detail, every name and hometown of those with whom he’d served. He’d get choked up reflecting on memories of his father, and made sure his children and grandchildren heard all the “Paul Gavan” stories. A real-life American Hero, Warrior, and friend to all, Billy Gavan was the best of everything a man was meant to be.

Born at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, Billy was the son of the late Anne DeArmond Gavan and Paul Amos Gavan, a U.S. Army Major General and commander of the Military District of Washington from 1961 to 1963. Following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, he graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1962 and served his country with honor, sacrifice, and valor for 30 years. 

Commissioned a Second Lieutenant of Infantry and assigned to the 25th Infantry Division, he served four tours in Vietnam and would later serve three tours in Germany during the Cold War. He commanded at every level through Brigade, culminating an exemplary and distinguished career as Assistant Division Commander, 9th Infantry Division, Fort Lewis, WA in 1992. 

For his unwavering bravery and uncompromising valor in combat, Billy was awarded the Silver Star; Legion of Merit (2d OLC); Bronze Star Medal (3d OLC, 2 w/Valor); Purple Heart (3d OLC); Meritorious Service Medal (3d OLC); Air Medal; Army Commendation Medal (1st OLC); Valorous Unit Award; Vietnam Service Medal; National Defense Service Medal with Bronze Service Star; Army Service Ribbon; Overseas Service Ribbon (3d OLC); Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal; Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation with Palm; and Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces Honor Medal First Class. Billy earned the Combat Infantry Badge, the Parachutist Badge, the Aircraft Crewman Badge, and the Ranger Tab. He was a graduate of the Infantry Officer Basic and Advance Courses, the Command and General Staff College, the U.S. Army War College, and the Inspector General Course. He earned a Bachelor of Science from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1962 and a Master of Education from North Carolina State College in 1972.

Upon retirement from the Army, Billy continued to impact the lives of others through his extraordinary leadership while serving as the General Manager of the West Virginia Turnpike and Tourism Authority until retiring to Greensboro, GA in 1999. Billy continued to serve throughout his retired years; supporting Wounded Warrior programs through the local fishing club and constantly giving his time and enthusiastic energy to enable those in need.

Billy will be buried with his father, General Paul Gavan, in Arlington National Cemetery. Interment will be announced at a later date.

He is survived by his wife Kathryn Rush Gavan, his son Colonel Sean Edward Gavan and daughter-in-law Teresa Darlene Gavan, William Hutcheson Gavan Jr, (Donna), Anne Dorothy Tillack (David), a stepson James Joseph Quinn (Robin), and his Grandchildren; Sean Braedon Gavan, Christopher Dakota Gavan, and Noah Jacob Gavan, William Hutcheson Gavan III, Shelby Ann Gavan, Sydney Paige Gavan, and Caroline Catherine Gavan.

A Celebration of Life Service will be held on October 2, at 4 pm at Linger Longer Pavilion 3331 Linger Longer Road, Greensboro, GA.

Rest is peace our beloved Billy, you will forever live in our hearts.   McCommons Funeral Home, 109 W. Broad Street, Greensboro, GA  (706) 453-2626, is in charge of arrangements.  Visit us at www.mccommonsfuneralhome.com to sign the online quest register.

 

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