Ellsworth "Bud" McDonald Wildridge passed away Aug. 9, 2019, at Emerald Place Senior Living in Washington, Indiana. Bud was born in the family home in Washington, Indiana, on Jan. 27, 1926, to Elmer "Alec" Ellsworth Wildridge and Tillie Margaret Wildridge. Bud attended Washington Catholic High School and joined the U.S. Navy in August 1943.
He served on a destroyer, the USS Liddle DE206/APD60 throughout the remainder of World War II. He served in convoy duty in the European and African/Middle Eastern theaters. The Liddle was converted to an auxiliary personnel destroyer and sent to the Pacific in 1944 for the Philippine liberation. His ship was hit by a Japanese kamikaze during the Battle of Ormoc Bay, Leyte, Philippines, on Dec. 7, 1944, after successfully landing its complement of U.S. army troops. He lost his best friend and many shipmates during that action. He survived the attack only by the grace of God and the toss of a coin. The coin toss by his commanding officer put Bud below deck handling ammunition for the five-inch gun turret while his best friend was assigned to the signal on the bridge. The kamikaze scored a direct hit on the bridge. His ship survived the attack and was repaired and returned to duty in the Pacific where it was involved in many other invasions and was training for the invasion of Japan when the war ended. Following the war, Bud returned to Washington and began his career as an electrician at the B&O Railroad, where he worked for 10 years. He continued as an electrician in the construction industry, working on many major construction projects, such as several Indiana University buildings and the Petersburg power plant. He was a member of Local 16 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. He met the love of his life, Barbara Lou Bromn, in Washington and they were married on July 1, 1950. They raised two sons, Timothy Ellsworth and Paul Michael Wildridge. Bud was a devoted and loving father and husband. He loved working with his hands and following his retirement enjoyed many years at his favorite hobby, woodworking, producing many fine pieces of furniture for his children and family.
Bud is survived by his loving wife of 69 years, Barbara; sons Timothy Ellsworth Wildridge (Ellen) and Paul Michael Wildridge (Cheri); sisters Rosemary Albright, Sharon Strickland (Fred); brother Ron Wildridge (Karla); grandchildren Matthew Wildridge, Ian Wildridge, Jessica Wilhite (Josh), and Paul Wildridge (Katie); great-grandchildren Kelsi, Aleah, Sutton, Joseph and Amelia. Bud is preceded in death by his parents, Alec and Tillie Wildridge; and sister Charlotte Schwartz.
A funeral service for Bud will be held at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019, at Gill Funeral Home, with visitation from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Burial with military honors will be at St. John's Cemetery, Washington. A reception will follow the burial at the funeral home.
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Published on August 9, 2019
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