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William Robert Ennis “Bill”, age ninety-seven, died January 22, 2018. Bill was born on October 25, 1920 in Atlanta, the son of the late Virginia Raley Ennis and the late John Daniel Ennis of that city. He entered the U.S. Army Air Corps as a Flying Cadet in February 1942. On receiving his pilot’s wings he married Claire Tucker, the daughter of the late Jane and Finley Tucker of Jacksonville. Bill served two and a half years in the European Theater with Troop Carrier Command. His plane was hit by enemy fire at 2:00am July 10, 1943 as its paratroopers were dropping on Sicily. After a perilous attempt to fly the dying airplane back to base in North Africa, the pilots’ decision was to ditch into the stormy sea. All the crew were rescued late the next day by the Destroyer USS Benson. On his return home, Bill and Claire settled into their home in Jacksonville where he engaged in property casualty insurance, banking and investing. He retired in 1990. A Rotarian and active in various civic affairs, and a golfer and tennis player at Timuquana Country Club, he served in many capacities at Ortega Methodist Church and in later years at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church. In 2000 Bill and Claire moved to Vicar’s Landing in Ponte Vedra Beach where he became president of the Members’ Council and where their family would always know they were being cared for. They later became members of nearby Christ Episcopal Church.
Bill is survived by Claire, his most beloved and cherished wife of seventy-five years; their two sons and daughters-in-law, William Robert Ennis, Jr. “Billy” (Kay Miyagawa Ennis) and Duncan Raley Ennis (Rosanne Beard Ennis); daughter-in-law, Donna Knauer Ennis, wife of son, David Christopher Ennis, who passed away unexpectedly in 2009; seven grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.
A Memorial Service will be held at 11:00am, Friday, February 9, 2018 in the sanctuary at Christ Episcopal Church, 400 San Juan Drive, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32082.