Local WWII veteran celebrates 100th birthday in Ocean Springs

The Ocean Springs community held a celebration to honor a World War II veteran who hit an incredible milestone.

World War II veteran William ‘Bill’ Ellzey celebrated his 100th birthday in spectacular fashion.

He, his family and his friends gathered at his apartment in Ocean Springs where members of the city’s community — such as Mark Seymour VFW post members, Ocean Springs Police Department, the fire department and more – drove by and gave their best wishes to the birthday boy. “I love Ocean Springs. I’m amazed. I never expected it, but I sure appreciate it.”

Ellzey was born on September 12th, 1922 in Agricola, Mississippi and was the oldest of nine children. He joined the Navy on May 28th, 1941, just six months prior to the Pearl Harbor attack. He spent two years at sea in the Pacific doing patrol duty around the Marshall Gilbert Islands, waiting to invade Japan.

He also recalled seeing a young Jack Kennedy on patrol.

Ellzey ended up serving 28 years in the Navy before he retired. He was then able to fully focus on raising his three sons with his first wife, Ruth Fairley, until she died in 1997. Bill’s youngest son, Brantley, said, “I’ve been very blessed to have such an amazing dad, and I could not be happier that he is.”

Once the drive-by parade was over, Ellzey shared stories of his time in the military and even got an opportunity to ride a motorcycle for the first time in his life. “Well, you know I could only hope that when I’m 100, I’ll be riding a motorcycle on my birthday, so I think it’s fantastic.”

Mr. Bill even got some special birthday presents including more than 60 birthday cards and a key to the City of Ocean Springs handed to him by Alderman at Large Bobby Cox. Bill’s wife Connie Ellzey said, “They had such a nice thing last night for him. Just a whole celebration was so wonderful, and today just topped it all off. This has made his birthday. You just have no idea.”

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