Lt. Col. Espey was born in McHenry, Kentucky, on May 11, 1923, and enlisted in the Army in 1942.
During World War II he served in North Africa and Italy as an enlisted soldier. He received a direct commission in 1948. After 1948 he served overseas in Okinawa, Korea, Japan, France, and Vietnam, and in the United States at Fort Lee, Virginia; Macon, Georgia; San Francisco, California; Fort Knox, Kentucky; and Memphis, Tennessee. While he was assigned to Memphis, he was chief of storage at the Defense Depot, Memphis.
His final military assignment was Deputy Director of Security, Plans and Operations, for the U.S. Army Japan.
After retiring from the Army in 1970, he worked at Memphis State University, and as a contract employee of the Saudi Arabian Army. After returning to Tennessee from Saudi Arabia, he taught for several years as a part-time instructor in Cumberland University’s off-campus business program. Beginning in 2001, he wrote seven books of political commentary, personal observations, family history, and humor.
His military decorations include The Legion of Merit Medal, the Bronze Star, the Air Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, and the Army Good Conduct Medal. He was a Kentucky Colonel, a life member of the American Legion, a life member of the Retired Officers’ Association, and a lifelong Republican. He was also a member of the Memphis Story Tellers League and the English Speaking Union.
He was a graduate of Western Kentucky University and received an MBA from Memphis State University.
He was the widower of Emily Brown Espey.
He was preceded in death by a brother, Robert K. Espey, and a sister, Gladys Main Espey.
Survivors include one son, William J. (Kelly) Espey, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; three daughters, Mary M. Espey-Healy (Patrick), of New Orleans, Louisiana, Marguerite Ann Espey, of Eads, Tennessee, and Joan Espey McGee (Patrick), of Seattle, Washington; three grandsons, Sean McGee, Patrick Healy, and William Henry Espey; and five granddaughters, Emily Ruth Healy Milwee (Zachariah), Sarah Healy, Kelsey Healy, Carrie Espey Asbridge (Tray), and Jacquelynn Espey; and special friend, Mary Wegener.
The family would also like to acknowledge the generous friendship of Cliff and Waverly Stewart, Jim and Wanda Gray, Mike and Kathy Armour, and members of the Wolfchase Galleria Walking Club.
Graveside services will be held at 2 p.m. CST Sunday, Jan. 9, at Sunnyside Cemetery. Full military honors by Ohio County Honor Guard. William L. Danks Funeral Home has been entrusted with the arrangements.