The Enigma of Walt Willard

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at
Mon Mar 22 10:17:08 EDT 2010

What is a coronary thrombosis?

The heart is surrounded by three major coronary arteries that supply it with
blood and oxygen.

If a blood clot develops in one of these arteries, the blood supply to that
area of the heart muscle will stop. This is known as a heart attack, or in
medical terms a coronary thrombosis or myocardial infarction.

A heart attack will cause severe chest pains behind the breast bone, often
radiating towards the left arm.

If the blockage (thrombosis) is not dissolved quickly with medication, the
area of heart muscle that isn't getting enough oxygen will stop working

Lois, you're on the right track Coronary thrombosis is in fact commonly
called a heart attack. At the time in question many folks could have a
Heart attack without warning since the connection between risk factors, such
as High blood pressure, weight, smoking, nutrition, and heredity and heart
disease were not as well publicized and accepted.

R.D. Williams


From: nw-mailing-list-bounces at
[mailto:nw-mailing-list-bounces at] On Behalf Of NW Mailing List
Sent: Sunday, March 21, 2010 7:01 PM
To: NW Mailing List
Subject: RE: The Enigma of Walt Willard

I have found one photo of Walt Willard. If any of you have the December 1957
issue of the Norfolk and Western Magazine, on page765, he is posed with a
train crew (which apparently is a mine run out of Wilcoe) in 1942. I was
rather surprised him to be still working in freight service this late,
perhaps he was working 'anywhere' at that time, as engineer. The man's
expression is a mystery but draw what you will from the photo.
Lois J. Ponton
ljp611 at


To: nw-mailing-list at
Subject: RE: The Enigma of Walt Willard
Date: Sat, 20 Mar 2010 03:24:32 +0000
From: nw-mailing-list at

In fact, a copy of the death certificate, which I have obtained, states the
cause of death as 'coronary thrombosis' which I take to be a heart attack. I
will note also Mr. Willard's death was noted in the February 1956 issue of
the Norfolk and Western Magazine; the wreck, of course, was not.
Lois J. Ponton
611 Historian


To: nw-mailing-list at
Subject: Re: The Enigma of Walt Willard
Date: Fri, 19 Mar 2010 09:15:45 -0400
From: nw-mailing-list at

I was 16 and lived in Bluefield when that happened. I remember the wreck
cars being called out, my brother T. C. Arnold Jr. was one of the brakeman.
It was passed around that Mr. Willard( a very much respected engineer on the
Poky Division) was dead at the throttle from a heart attack when rounding
the curve. My brother, B. L. Arnold was killed June 6, 1956 at Arista
Mountain. The blue light at the call office was lit for both accessions.

Gene Arnold

Gloucester, Va.

----- Original Message -----

From: NW <mailto:nw-mailing-list at> Mailing List

To: nw-mailing-list at

Sent: Thursday, March 18, 2010 9:41 PM

Subject: The Enigma of Walt Willard

While finishing my book on the 611 1956 wreck, 'Midnight on the Pocahontas'
I have been looking through details and realize I do not have that much
information on the engineer, Walter Willard. What I do know about him:
Born: August 4, 1895
Died:January 23, 1956
Home: Princeton, West Virginia
Married to: Carrie Viola Gordon; no children
Family: Brothers James, John, J.W. "Spot" Willard, Benjamin Willard, at
least three sisters. I do not know the parents or where they came from.
Hired on the N&W in 1909.
Character: Don't know. I would like to get some idea on what the man might
have been like so he is not cast as a 'villain' (which I personally don't
want to do) especially if someone sees this book and decides to make a film
of it.
If any of you can supply any information please email me at
ljp611 at or reply to this message.
Thank you.
Lois J. Ponton
611 Historian


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