Branch: U. S. Army

   Rank:  Private

   Status: Died of disease

   Date of Service: WWII

   Home Town: Eddy Township

1940s postcard of Fort Robinson

Emil Glen Willborg was born December 15, 1918 in Clearwater County, Minnesota to parents Martin Emil and Carrie Schalbo Willborg. Martin was a Swedish immigrant who came to this country from Sweden with his family at the age of nine. Carrie was only a year old when her family immigrated from Norway in 1884. The couple married in 1899 and homesteaded land in Eddy Township (Weme) where they built up a dairy farm. The family temporarily moved to Bagley in 1905 when Martin was elected the first Judge of Probate Court in Clearwater County. Martin and Carrie had six children: Isabel (Helena), Ernest, Wilfred, Mervin, Kenneth and Emil.

Emil went to country school through the 8th grade, then helped his father on the farm and worked in the woods. He married a local girl named Elna Anderson and they had children Everett, Garrett, and Dorothy.

Emil enlisted in the Army on July 15, 1944 at Fort Snelling. He was sent to Camp Joseph T. Robinson in Arkansas for basic training. The post was used during WWII as an infantry replacement training center and also housed German prisoners of war. Infantry training involved trench warfare training in stiflingly hot and damp conditions. After only two weeks at Camp Joseph Emil came down with what was then called “quinsy,” but is now known as peritonsillar abscess. These abscesses behind the tonsil were penicillin-resistant and sometimes resulted in blockage of the airway or aspiration pneumonitis.

Private Emil Willborg died of his illness on August 1, 1944. His wife Elna was pregnant with twins at the time of his death.  Gene and Gwendolyn were born on January 2, 1945, five months after their father’s death. To compound Elna’s grief, little Gwendolyn lived only a short time and died the day of her birth.

Emil’s body was sent home to be buried in Zion Lutheran Church Cemetery in Weme. He was 25 years old.