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In Memory

Joseph Willing

Joseph Willing
January 15, 1925 - August 5, 2016

Joseph Leslie Willing Jr., "Joe," passed away on Aug. 5, 2016, at the Pioneer Home in Anchorage, Alaska. Joe was born on Jan. 15, 1925, the son of Joseph and Eunice Newberry Willing of Tulsa, Okla., and grew up there with his three sisters.

Joe was active in Boy Scouts and participated in weightlifting and wrestling. During World War II, he graduated from Will Rogers High School in Tulsa, and went on to become a mechanical engineer at the University of Texas through the Navy's V12 Program. After the war, he was employed by Humble Pipeline, which is now ExxonMobil Pipeline. He was sent to work in Midland, Texas, and met a schoolteacher there, Margaret "Peggy" Ott, and married her in August 1953. They moved to Corpus Christi, Texas, in 1955, then on to Houston, Texas, in 1958.

Exxon sent him on interesting assignments to France, Germany, Nicaragua and Libya before starting preparatory work for the construction of the trans-Alaska pipeline in 1968. The pipeline project was the most exciting one of Joe's career.

Joe and his family moved to Anchorage in 1974. They loved Alaska and the church home they found at Anchor Park UMC. For many years Joe was a faithful and serving member, assisting in many jobs and being a wonderful living example of a true Christian. He was a member of the choir until his Parkinson's left him unable to sing. However, he still tried to sing at the Pioneer Home at singalongs, services and with the caregivers, too.

Joe had two favorite hobbies: photography and horses. He was always there with a camera in hand, whether taking shots of the family or loading a pig in the trans-Alaska pipeline. He also enjoyed taking care of their three horses, with the barn only steps from their home on Cranberry Hill.

Joe is predeceased by his sisters, Mary Pickard and Eunice Pickard. He is survived by his wife, Peggy; sister, Kathleen Van Valin of Pennsylvania; son, Paul and Jody Willing of Anchorage; daughter, Mary Beth and Zo Carroll of Marana, Ariz.; son, Chuck and Ann Willing of Tulsa, Okla.; grandchildren, Taylor Willing of Anchorage, Trevor Carroll of San Diego, Calif., Maya Carroll of Tucson, Ariz., Moriah Holmes of Oklahoma City, Okla., and Sarah and Jacob Willing of Tulsa, Okla.

Memorial services will be held at Anchor Park United Methodist Church on Saturday, Aug. 13, 2016, at 3 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be sent to Anchor Park United Methodist Church: 2300 Oak Dr., Anchorage, AK 99508. For any questions, please contact Judy Pendleton at 907-250-8464. Arrangements are with Janssen's Evergreen Memorial Chapel. 

Services at Janssen Funeral Homes, Anchorage, AK

Published in Alaska Dispatch News on August 9, 2016

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08/10/16 04:07 AM #1    

Larry Shelton

The news of Joe's passing brings a sad tear, but also a warm smile.  As I look back, not only on my Alyeska career, but my entire life, I cannot think of anyone for whom there was more universal respect and admiration, both personally and professionally.  

08/10/16 07:12 AM #2    

Jon Bose

I think of Joe Willing, "pipeliner extraordinare", and am reminded of Newton: "If I have seen futher, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants."  Joe was surely one of those giants.

08/10/16 11:31 AM #3    

Elden Johnson

Joe Willing - set the standard for those around him on what it meant to be an engineer in the pipeline industry.  Always willing to offer guidance and advice.  His office filled with papers and notes that one never imagined even existed.  But precicely what you needed for the question at hand.  He knew exactly where he placed it, in which stack, at what position.  A true professional, a gentleman, a teacher, a mentor.  A true hero of TAPS.  I wish I could have lived better by his example.

08/10/16 04:27 PM #4    

Larry Motschenbacher

I wanted to share the Alyeska announcement also.  Larry Motschenbacher

From: Alyeska Corporate Communications 
Sent: Wednesday, August 10, 2016 1:17 PM
To: DL, All TAPS
Subject: Death Announcement - Joseph Willing

We are sad to inform you that former Alyeska employee and pipeline pioneer Joseph Willing passed away on August 5, 2016.  Joe joined the Alyeska team on January 1, 1979 and worked as a Senior Staff Engineer and an Engineer Advisor until his retirement on April 30, 1988. 

In August of 1968, Joe was asked by his employer, Exxon, to be part of the team that was going to design and build the trans-Alaska pipeline. His first assignment was on the task force for pumpability, which was to see how the oil coming out of the ground was going to be pumped, if it could be pumped, and to overcome any obstacles. He was involved in the engineering design of mainline pumping equipment, the pump stations, valves, and other pipeline mechanical equipment. During construction of the pipeline, Joe oversaw the mainline pipe hydrostatic testing program.

Joe worked in the oil industry for 40 years before his retirement, but continued to stay involved by assisting Alyeska with obtaining the Right of Way renewal in 1999.  He was one of the true pioneers of the Trans Alaska Pipeline System and he will be missed.

Memorial services for Joe will be held at the Anchor Park United Methodist Church on Saturday, August 13, 2016 at 3 p.m.  In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be sent to the Anchor Park United Methodist Church, 2300 Oak Drive, Anchorage, AK 99508.  Arrangements are with Janssen’s Evergreen Memorial Chapel.



08/11/16 05:32 PM #5    

Mike Smulski

Joe was one of the finest people I ever knew. Joe and I went to Tulsa together for some reason, and since that was his home town he took it on himself to show me around. Most people would show you historic sites, perhaps a good restaurant. That was not Joe. He took me to the house where he grew up, his Jr. High and High schools, and other places he remembered from his childhood, meanwhile keeping up a nonstop description of his younger life in those places. It was great. Go with God, Joe Willing.

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