Edwin J. Briggs passed away on October 2, 2001. He was born in Perry, Oregon on August 23, 1912, the son of Willie J. and Harriet Watson Briggs, both deceased now. He was raised in LaGrande, Oregon, and it was at college there that he met and married his first wife, Helen Teed. They were married 56 years. Helen died in 1990.
Ed entered active military service in September, 1940 as a 2nd Lt. with Co. E., 186th Infantry Regiment, 41st Division. He served in New Guinea during the first Papuan Campaign. He then volunteered for service in Burma with Merrill’s Marauders, and was one of the few remaining original Marauders who played a major role in World War II by retaking the Burma Road from the Japanese, opening the route into China. He commanded the Khaki Unit, which fought behind enemy lines the entire time. He was awarded the Silver Star for gallantry in action and the Bronze Star Medal with Oakleaf Cluster and the Purple Heart for combat wounds in action.
He was integrated into the Regular Army as Lt. Colonel while on occupation duty in Japan, following which he served in various command assignments in Europe and in the U. S. He was proud of being an executive officer of the Ranger School when it was formed at Fort Benning, Georgia. He was badly injured in a helicopter crash against a mountain in Korea, but recovered to serve several assignments around the United States. He was promoted to Colonel in 1954, and retired from active service at Fort Lewis, WA, in 1963, where his retirement parade was held.
In 1990 he married Dorothy Ligon, and they enjoyed eleven “golden” years together. Besides his wife, he is survived by his five children and their spouses, namely: William and Mildred Briggs, Woodbridge, VA; Rodney and Corrine Guelfi-Briggs, Tacoma; Susan Vojir, Puyallup; Michael and Carol Briggs, Steilacoom; and Julie and Matthew Emerson, Clarksville, TN. He also leaves two stepchildren, Elizabeth Harris, Winston-Salem, NC; and Linda and Jack Westerfield, Puyallup; ten grandchildren and two step-grandchildren.
He loved the game of golf and was a long-time member of Oakbrook Golf and Country Club. He was a faithful member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Lake City Ward.
Funeral service will be held a The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on Far West Drive on Monday at 2:00 PM. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in his name to the American Red Cross or to the Salvation Army. Interment in Fir Lane Memorial Park.
Tacoma News Tribune, October 5, 2001
Contributed by: Shelli Steedman