Wilbur E. Showalter
Biography: Wilbur Eugene Showalter was born in Kingman County, Kansas, on December 30, 1916. He was the son of William Showalter and Esty Settle and had three sisters, Alma, Alberta and Janice. Wilbur attended the United States Military Academy at West Point and graduated in 1939. He received the nickname “Bur” and was well respected while there. His yearbook identifies that he participated in Choir, had a Marksman rating with the pistol and was a company commander. Wilbur married the former Lucile Hanford immediately after graduation, on June, 13, 1939, at West Point. She was the daughter of Col. Edward Cornelius Hanford and Lucile Greer. The new couple had one son, Edward, who they called Ned, born in 1942.
Service Time: Wilbur entered WWII and took command of the 703rd Tank Destroyer Battalion while the unit was stationed at Mere, Wiltshire, England. He led them through 5 campaigns, Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace and Central Europe. The 703rd specifically saw action in the Cobra breakout in northern France and the battle in Mortain. They reached the Siegfried Line in September and fought along the West Wall. They were then transferred into the Ardennes and fought the German’s bulge offensive until joining the drive to Cologne, Germany, eventually crossing the Rhine River in March and moving to the Ruhr River and Dessau by April. Wilbur was awarded a Bronze Star and the Belgian Croix de Guerre w/Palm.
Wilbur stayed in the military, attending Artillery School, Command and General Staff College, Armed Forces Staff College and the National War College. He served as Professor of Military Science at the University of Dayton from 1963 to 1965. It was during that time that he declined a promotion to Brigadier General in 1964. From 1965 to 1979 he held various positions at the University, including Financial Aid, Federal Programs and Assistant to the President. Wilbur retired from the Army in 1965 as a Colonel. He also received the Chilean Al Merito Militar, Al Merito and the Legion of Merit.
Wilbur and his wife, Lucile, established the Showalter Scholarship for special students at the U of Dayton and Wilbur also volunteered at the Sycamore Hospital. He passed away on September 19, 2005, and was buried Arlington Nation Cemetery on December 1, 2005.
The main photo shows Wilbur as a cadet at West Point. The second photo is of Wilbur while he was on staff at the University of Dayton in 1964. Both images are used by permission of Digital Data Online, Inc. and E-Yearbook.com.
We would like to thank Wilbur’s cousin, Lowell Clark Wilson, for his assistance with this tribute. He also served during WWII in the ETO.