Willard Giddings, Venerable Volunteer

Willard Giddings was one of the oldest and loved volunteers in Ashtabula and Conneaut. He gave tours at the museum up until his death at the age of ninety-two. Willard was a steward on Pittsburgh Steamship vessels from1926 until his retirement in 1979. He also worked for the Ashland Oil Company and Wilson Marine and after he retired, he became a self-employed contractor.

In 2001, Willard and his father Jay Palmer Giddings were both inducted into the Great Lakes Lore Maritime Museum in Rogers City, Michigan with the combined time of one hundred years’ service on the Great Lakes. Willard’s wife Caroline Giddings accompanied him as second cook on his voyages for five years.

Willard also served his community. For almost thirty-five years, he volunteered at the Conneaut Human Resources Center, helping distribute food and toys to needy Conneaut families at Christmas. His fellow citizens chose 90-year-old Willard to be the 2003 Conneaut Citizen of the Year for his community service. He frequently purchased and transported toys out of his own pocket. Willard Giddings died in November 4,2006, and he is buried in East Conneaut Cemetery.