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Ralph F. Gibson, Quartermaster, 834th: October 14, 2008

Ralph, 88, died at his residence in Celest, TX. Mr. Gibson was born March 19, 1920 in Celeste, son of Malcolm Roscoe and Vera Mae Gibson. On Jan 11, 1947 he married Helen Ruth Fowler.

Ralph was assigned to the 834th as a member of the Quartmaster corps, rising to the rank of Staff Sergeant.  While not assigned to a combat crew, he did fly a combat mission during D-Day.

In 1982, Mr. Gibson retired from E-Systems-Engineering Reproduction. He lived on his family farm that received a Family Heritage Award for existing 100 years in the same family in July 2005. He traveled and worked on genealogy to pass on this legacy to his family. He was a member of Whiterock United Methodist Church where he served as an administrative council member and as a Pastor Parish Relations Committee member. He was very proud when his grandson came back to serve as his pastor.

He became a Christian at an early age and he loved his church and loved the Lord. He also belonged to the American Legion and the Disabled American Veterans.

His parents and one brother, Paul Gibson, preceded him in death.


John Palikaras, Armorer, 832nd: October 13, 2008

John graduated from East High School class of June 1941, and retired from LTV Steel, formerly Republic Steel, after 32 years as a pipefitter at the Youngstown District Coke Works. He was a member of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in Youngstown.

He was active in WWII in the 8th Army Air Corp, stationed in Sudbury, England. He served in the 486th Bomb Group in the 832nd Squadron as an Armor Gunner, with the rank of Corporal. His honors include the Air Medal with four bronze clusters, sharp shooter medal and good conduct medal.


Herbert J. Crawford, Gunner, LT Belanger's Crew, 833rd: October 10, 2008

Herbert completed 35 missions with the 833rd, and returned with GEN Eisenhower's party.

After the war he worked for Boeing as an engineer until he retired. He also managed to play the guitar professionally, and still had time to be a Mason and a Shriner while raising a family.


Robert W. "Whit" Whitney, Pilot, 832nd: September 8, 2008

Whit flew 45 missions; 30 as a pilot and another as a staff officer performing the duties as Air Leader. While at Sudbury he met Mary Jo Wymond, whom, I believed, he married while still at Station 174.

His son, John, tells me that Whit was known for his "wit", even to the last. One of his two daughters was by his side, serenading him with her guitar. At one point she asked, "Dad, did you ever play an instrument?" Whit, even in his weakened state, didn't hesitate and responded, "Only a shoehorn in a hat band!". Whit passed away an hour later.


George Weingarten, CPL, 76th Station Complement: August 24, 2008

One of George's proudest moments, Nicholas writes, was taking his children, their spouses, and his only grandchild at the time, to Sudbury in 1995 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of his departure from England. George had kept two model B-17s on his mantel, and requested that they be buried with him. He loved the 486th, and would tell anyone who would listen of his times in England.


Timothy F. Warren, 834th: August 6, 2008

[no obit]


Charles A. "Smitty" Smith, 76th Station Compliment: July 25, 2008

Smitty, 89, of McLeansboro, took his last flight on July 25, 2008, at Heritage Center in Evansville, Ind.

He was born on Dec. 16, 1918, in Maroa, son of James Olen and Lena Pearl (Allen) Smith. He married Georgia Fern Leslie on Aug. 5, 1941, and she preceded him in death.

Mr. Smith was a retired major with the U.S. Air Force having served in World War II and the Korean War. He later taught fifth grade in the McLeansboro Grade Schools for 15 years. He was a member of the 486th Bomb Group Association, the American Legion and VFW Posts in Evansville and the Hamilton County Retired Teacher Association. He was a member of Union Baptist Church.


William C. Wiley, Pilot, 833rd: June 27, 2008

William C. Wiley was the pilot of the "Oh Miss Agnes" during world war II and served with distinction until he was shot down over Germany near the end of the war. He survived POW camp and returned to the US.

After the war he married Margaret K. Wiley (nee Kurtz) and start a career at Bendix corporation, where he was an experimental physicist and developed many patentable inventions, such as  the Channeltron electron multiplier. He worked for Bendix at several locations until he left to become Vice President for Corporate Research for Leeds and Northrup, a position he held until he retired.


Pasquale J. Pagano, Mechanic, 833rd: June 16, 2008

Pat proudly served his country in WW2 in the "Mighty" Eight Air Force, 486th BG, 833rd Sqd. He was a Life Member in both the 8AFHS and 486th BG Assoc. We attended and enjoyed many reunions from 1978 thru 2000, most notably the first reunion in Sudbury, England in 1983.

Pat was a devoted husband, wonderful father to his 2 daughters Rosemarie & Claudia and proud grandfather of grandson Billy. We miss him but he will always be with us spiritually.

He had a military funeral and at the end of the service, his youngest sister gave out copies of the Air Force Song and asked everyone to join her & the family in singing the Air Force Song. It was very uplifting and a great send off for Pat


John A. Stevens, RO/G, Burkhardt Crew, 833rd: May 27, 2008

John, age 87, longtime Amesbury resident, died Tuesday evening, May 27, 2008, at Country Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Newburyport. He was the husband of Lois E. (Steele) Stevens. Born in Franklin, N.H., Aug. 8, 1920, he was the son of the late John Stevens and Marie (Merrick) Stevens Hill.

A proud veteran of World War II, he served with the U.S. Army Air Force from Aug. 23, 1940, to Sept. 5, 1945, and was the radio operator and gunner with the Burkhardt crew, 833rd.

Mr. Stevens was a truck driver for the Bailey Corporation of Amesbury.


Thomas E. Kelly, Pilot, 833rd: March 20, 2008

Tom passed away in Santa Barbara, California. He was born in New York City, on March 5, 1924 to Edward Thomas Kelly, an Alderman for the City of New York, and Anastasia Cecilia Kane. Tom Kelly was a graduate of Regis High School, a Second Lieutenant Pilot assigned to the 486th Bomber Group, 833rd Bomber Squadron of the 3rd Division of the U.S. 8th Air Force, a graduate from N.Y.U. College of Engineering where he played on the varsity basketball team, and a Boston Celtic. Tom was inducted into the N.Y.U. Athletics Hall of Fame at N.Y.U. in 1991. Tom spent four decades with The Trane Company, building the KellyTrane Service Agency, a successful business in commercial HVAC sales. Tom served as President of the Board of Education for the Syosset, L.I. Central School District No. 2 from 1954 to 1958. Tom retired to Santa Barbara, California in 1994.

You can also find info about Tom here


Edwin "Jim" Himel, Pilot, 832nd: April 14, 2008

Jim flew his first mission on September 25, and was pressed into service right away, foregoing the standard practice of letting new crews fly with veterans to get them over the shock of their first combat sortie. After flying only a handful of missions with his crew, Jim replaced replaced LT Goodman, and eventually became a lead pilot. Jim completed his tour after 30 missions.

Following the war Jim became an engineer, settling in his homestate of Mississippi. His home was in Ocean Springs on the Gulf coast, and had been miraculously spared the ravages of Hurricanes Irene, Katrina and the rest.


Robert S. Bee, Navigator, Kurbjun crew, 832nd: March 27, 2008

Bob Bee helped Richard Wood publish the history book of the 486th.

Bob was born on September 13, 1916 in Columbus, graduated from North High School in 1935 and attended The Ohio State University. He entered military service in 1941 and served in the infantry. His first assignment was with Company C, 58th Quartermaster Regiment. He was later accepted into the Air Cadet Training program and graduated as a 2nd Lt. in 1943 as a Bombardier/Navigator. Bob was with the 9th Antisubmarine Squadron flying 38 anti-submarine patrols. When the 9th became the 486th Bombardment Group (Heavy) he was re-assigned to the 832nd Bombardment Squadron (Heavy). He flew 35 combat bombing missions over Germany as a member of LT Karl Kurbjun's Crew. After World War II, he retained his reserve commission and was recalled for duty in Korea in 1951. After two more years of active duty, he completed 21 years of total military service and retired as a Major. His decorations include: Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with 4 OLC, Bronze Star, Distinguished Unit Citation, EAME Theater Ribbon with 4 bronze battle stars, Asiatic-Pacific Theater Ribbon, American Theater Ribbon with one battle star, ROK Service Medal with 2 bronze battle stars, UN ROK Service Medal, ROK Presidential Unit Citation, and four overseas bars.

After the military, Bob received a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Ohio Statue University, and he pursued a career as a tool and machine designer, retiring in 1978. Throughout the years, he enjoyed golf and gardening. He was a founding member of the Central Ohio Orchid Society and also raised award-winning African Violets and Amaryllis. Bob was one of 7 original 486ers who met at an impromptu reunion hosted by Linda Walters during a reunion of the 8th AFHS. Following an absence of 7 years, he became very active with the 486th Bomb Group Association, serving as terms as Commander, Treasurer and Editor. During the time he served as editor and publisher of Dick Woods book, "The War Stories of the O & W: A History of the 486th Bomb Group (Heavy)". His expertise with computers helped the nascent association build a database to track member information, and organize association records. Bob worked tirelessly putting together reunions and performing his duties as a member of the board for many years. Only when his wife, Jean, took ill did he step down to allow others to carry on.

Bob also rode herd over a 200 acre family farm in Muskingham County and he was active with his new circle of friends at Wesley Ridge Retirement Community in Reynoldsburg.


John (Uzdrowski) Healer, Pilot, Bereman's crew, 832nd:

[no obit]


Kenneth R. Duncan, Radio Operator/Gunner, Himel Crew, 832nd: January 25, 2008

Ken, born in Cedar Rapids, IA, passed away in Fort Wayne, IN. He was a 1941 graduate of New Castle High. Following the war, Ken became a pharmacist, earning degrees from Dennison and Purdue Universities. He was co-owner of the New Castle Laundry, and Barney's Pharmacy. He also worked in several New Castle pharmacies.


Chester W. Brundage, NCOIC, HFDF Station: January 24, 2008.

Chester was the Non-commissioned Office-in-Charge of the Station 174 High Frequency Direction Finding station, and later became a founding member of the 486th Bomb Group Association. Following the war he worked as an FAA Air Traffic Controller.


Kenneth R. Duncan, Radio Operator/Gunner, Himel Crew, 832nd: January 25, 2008

Ken, born in Cedar Rapids, IA, passed away in Fort Wayne, IN. He was a 1941 graduate of New Castle High. Following the war, Ken became a pharmacist, earning degrees from Dennison and Purdue Universities. He was co-owner of the New Castle Laundry, and Barney's Pharmacy. He also worked in several New Castle pharmacies.


Chester W. Brundage, NCOIC, HFDF Station: January 24, 2008.

Chester was the Non-commissioned Office-in-Charge of the Station 174 High Frequency Direction Finding station, and later became a founding member of the 486th Bomb Group Association. Following the war he worked as an FAA Air Traffic Controller.


Enrique M. "Hank" Huerta, FE/Top, Fadden's Crew, 834th: January 3, 2008.

[no obit]


John S. Read, Copilot, LT Scheopner's Crew, 835th: January 2008

John became a minister following the war, and was a father of 5. He was pre-deceased by his granddaughters Amy and Kristin.


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