Cover photo for Paul Lay's Obituary
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1923 Paul 2015

Paul Lay

July 31, 1923 — June 27, 2015

Paul Melvin Lay, 91, of Minonk, formerly of El Paso, passed away at 7:15 a.m., Saturday, June 27, 2015 at Heritage Manor El Paso.

He was born July 31, 1923 in Burton, KS to Siemon and Helen (Tuttle) Lay. He married Louise West in 1947 in Champaign, IL. She died in 2000. He later married Harriett Anderson in 2001 in Branson, MO. She died in 2010. He was also preceded in death by his parents, and brothers George and Robert.

Surviving are 7 children; Jerry (Wanda) Lay of Minonk, IL, Linda (Jack) Pfister of El Paso, IL, Alan (Patsy Sewald) Lay of Wisconsin, Debra (Georgia Russell) Lay of White Heath, IL, Dennis Lay of El Paso, Sheila (Vincent McGarry) Lay of Colorado, Dirk Lay of Bloomington, IL; 7 grandchildren; 16 great-grandchildren; and 1 sister Vesta Buetow of Wisconsin.

Melvin was a life member of IBEW. He worked as a lineman for Illinois Power for more than 30 years before retiring. He was a life member of the VFW and a volunteer of the Livingston County War Museum. Melvin was a Boy Scoutmaster for 20 years and was awarded the Silver Beaver in 1971. He was also a founding member of the El Paso Emergency Squad.

Melvin enlisted in the army out of high school at Camp McCoy, WI in 1942. As a private, he was trained as an aircraft armament specialist in Lansing, MI and then in aerial torpedoes at San Diego, CA. After completing his military training he was assigned to the 75th Bomb Squadron, 45th Bomb Group, which was under the command of the 13th Air Force (Army Air Corps/Forces) in the southern pacific theater. While in the South Pacific he saw duty in New Guinea, Bougainville, Guadalcanal, New Caledonia, and the Philippines. During his combat tour Cpl Lay was cross trained as an electrician where he installed and maintained electric generators for many of the combat bases. In addition to his other duties he was also assigned to antisubmarine duty. During his tour of duty during WWII Cpl Paul Melvin Lay was awarded the Good Conduct Medal, Asiatic Pacific Theater Service Medal, Philippines Liberation Ribbon with 1 Bronze Star, American Theater Service Medal with 1 Bronze Star and 5 overseas bars. In 2009 Melvin thoroughly enjoyed an historic ride from Peru, IL to Peoria in a Grumman TBM Avenger flown by his friend Brad Deckert. The TBM Avenger was a WWII torpedo bomber designed to carry the 2000 pound Mark 13 torpedo which for which he was trained as a technician.

A memorial celebration of Life service for Melvin will be held at 12 noon, Tuesday, June 30, 2015 at Ruestman-Harris Funeral Home in El Paso. Rev. Wes Ooms will officiate. Visitation will be held two hours prior to services from 10 to 12 noon at the funeral home. Cremation will be accorded.

Inurnment will be at a later date at the Spider Lake Church Cemetery, Hayward, WI. His father was a Presbyterian minister at the Spider Lake church and his Father, Mother and one brother are buried there.

Memorials may be made to Livingston County War Museum / Dal Estes Education Center, 321 N. Main St. Pontiac, IL 61764 or Wounded Warriors.

Online tributes and condolences may be made at


JUN 30. 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM (CDT)

Ruestman-Harris El Paso
40 West Main Street
El Paso, IL 61738-1561

Memorial Service

JUN 30. 12:00 PM (CDT)

Ruestman-Harris El Paso
40 West Main Street
El Paso, IL 61738-1561

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Paul Melvin Lay, please visit our floral store.

To send flowers to the family in memory of Paul Lay, please visit our flower store.


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