Virgil P. "Paul" Plumlee, a veteran who saw action in some of World War II's most pivotal events, died Monday, Feb. 1, 2010, of heart failure. He was 94 years old.
Mr. Plumlee was born in Berryville, Ark., on Dec. 12, 1915, the son of Edgar E. Plumlee and Adeline (Misha) Wood. He was raised in Twin Falls, Idaho. After World War II broke out, he moved to Portland, Ore., to work for Beall Pipe and Tank Co., making tanks for the war effort.
Just after joining the Army in 1944 but before he shipped overseas, he married Sybil V. Barker. They were married for more than 65 years.
He served in the Battle of the Bulge, in Belgium, fighting in Bastogne, where he was wounded. The battle was a major German offensive in which 19,000 Americans died, the bloodiest toll for the United States in the war. Mr. Plumlee was awarded the Purple Heart. He also was among the troops who arrived at a German concentration camp shortly after its liberation.
After the war, Mr. Plumlee returned to Portland, Ore., and worked as a welder.
Among the projects he worked on was the Astoria-Megler Bridge across the Columbia River connecting Astoria, Ore., to Point Ellice, Wash. The bridge, which opened in 1966, is the longest continuous truss bridge in North America. He also was a meter reader for the city of Portland, Ore.
He enjoyed fishing, camping and playing guitar.
He is survived by his wife, Sybil Plumlee of Portland, Ore.; a stepson, Louis Barker of Lake Oswego, Ore.; three step grandchildren, Betty Barker of San Rafael, Calif., and Charles Barker and Neil Barker, both of Portland, Ore.; three step great-grandchildren; and a niece, Deanna Sanborn of California. His brother, Conrad Plumlee, and sister, Pauline Stanger, preceded him in death.
Wilhelm's Portland Memorial Funeral Home will handle arrangements. His cremated remains were interred at Willamette National Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the memorials may be made to the Portland Police Bureau's Sunshine Division, 687 N. Thompson St., Portland, OR, 97227-1820.