In Memorium

23 DEC 2009

Charlotte Gibbons

Longtime Alaskan C. Elizabeth Gibbons, 72, died Dec. 23, 2009, at Providence Alaska Medical Center.

A visitation was held Saturday and and a service Sunday at Garr Funeral Home in Sellersburg, IN. A quiet gathering of family and friends will be arranged in mid-January in Anchorage, AK.

Elizabeth was born Jan. 6, 1937, in Sellersburg, IN, to Paul and Emma Dickson. She graduated from Silver Creek High School in Sellersburg.

In 1959 she married William "Bill" James Gibbons from Marysville, IN, and together they had five children: Mike, Deanna, Randy, Jody and Tony. Their travels with USAF took them to Columbia and around the United States before they moved to Alaska in June 1974. Elizabeth pursued her love of art and in 1974 she graduated magna cum laude with an Associate of Arts degree from Anchorage Community College.

A true Alaskan at heart, Elizabeth loved the snow, especially at Christmastime. Always creative, she enjoyed painting and cross stitch. She loved to spend time with her grandchildren and shared her interest in art with them. In recent years she became fascinated by family history and devoted much of her time to genealogy.

Elizabeth is survived by her brother, Larry Dickson; sister, Sharon Lankford; daughter and son-in-law, Deanna Gibbons and Rob Price; her sons, Randy, Jody, and Tony; and three grandchildren, Katharine, Joseph and Michele Price.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Bill Gibbons, USAF Retired; her oldest son, Mike Gibbons; her sister, Christine Guernsey; and her parents, Paul and Emma Dickson.

Elizabeth was a treasure to all who knew her and will be greatly missed.

Submitted By Dale Kingsbury

18 DEC 2009

Reba Anne Root

Reba Anne Root, 85, of Battle Creek, passed away Friday, December 18, 2009 at the Lifespan Good Samaritan Hospice Residence.

She was born November 16, 1924 in Salina, Kansas, the daughter of Curtis Earl and Valrie Celia (Andrist) Just.

She was a member of the Battle Creek Bible Church and enjoyed reading and traveling.

On October 18, 1946 she was married to Edwin Sheldon Root in Salina, Kansas; he survives. Also surviving are two daughters: Jara Dee (Richard) Sutton of Battle Creek and Susan Dell Root of Champaign, IL; two grandsons: Dr. Brian Zellers of State College, PA and Captain Eric Zellers of Fort Lewis, Tacoma, WA; two sisters-in-law: Lucille Just and Betty Just both of Salina, KS; and several nieces and nephews.

Reba was preceded in death by three brothers and two sisters: Earl Birdsill "Burt" Just, Wilma Floye Brookhouser, Robert Andrew "Bud" Just, Celia Mae Beach and Roy Thomas "Tom" Just.

Funeral services will be held 11:00 a.m. Tuesday at the Richard A. Henry Funeral Home with Rev. Larry T. Messer officiating. Interment will follow at Memorial Park Cemetery. The family will receive friends at the funeral home on Monday from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Memorial contributions may be directed to Battle Creek Bible Church or Lifespan Good Samaritan Hospice Residence.

Published in Battle Creek Enquirer on December 20, 2009

24 OCT 2009

Marshall Holland

Services for Marshall Holland, 79, Van,TX, were held at 10 a.m., October 28 at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Wills point with Bishop Glenn McNeill officiating under the direction of Hilliard Funeral Home, Van.

Burial was Thursday in Erik, Oklahoma under the direction of Fatheree-Albert Funeral Home.

Mr. Holland passed away October 24, 2009 in Van,TX.

He was born January 3, 1930 in Erik, OK to the late Clarence Marshall and Joy Ruth Holland. He served in the US Air Force for 20 years, including being active in the mission that dropped the first atom bomb. He later worked in the hearing aide business.

He was preceded in death by brothers, Carson Daniel Holland and John Paul Holland.

Survivors include his wife, Novelene Holland, Van; children, Marshall C. Holland and wife, Karlynn, Palestine, Cindy Vogelsang and husband, Dennis, St. Louis, MO. and Rhonda Lenox and husband, Floyd, Van; sister Maribel Woodfin, Morgan City; 11 grandchildren, Janie Belle, Wendy, Lacey, Jeff, Scott, Heath, Micah, Carson, Chelsea, Cherish, and Jordan; 15 great-grandchildren.

Grandsons served as pallbearers.

Wills Point Chronicle 2009

24 SEP 2009

Herbert Earl Thompson

Herbert Earl Thompson Age 83, passed away peacefully on Sept. 24 2009.

He was born in Twin Falls , ID on July 23, 1926 and soon moved to Burley, ID, where his family had purchased a farm. After High School he enlisted in the USAF where he served as a pilot flying cartography and logistics missions with the 7th Geodetic Control Squadron. After achieving the rank of Captain, he left the service and earned his degree in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Colorado , Boulder.

Herb married his loving wife, Jean (McCully) then moved to San Jose to work for IBM and start his family. He built a home in the hills of Los Gatos in 1966, surrounded by orchards, where he and his family lived for many years. He enjoyed growing fruit trees and worked tirelessly improving his land.

Herb worked for Memorex, and then co-founded Shugart Associates where he spent many years on the leading edge of disk drive technology. He also founded Drive Tec and Numag Data Systems, and served as a consultant at Sy Quest. He retired to Rio Vista, Ca in 1999 where his vision never faded.

He continued to invent and design for the rest of his days. He has over 30 patents to his name. Herb was an utterly honest, completely dependable man whose word was his bond. He was well respected by his colleagues and loved by his family. His memory will be honored and he'll be truly missed.

Herb is survived by his sisters, Marge Miller and Carol Powe, his daughter Beverly Wallace, his sons William and Edward Thompson, and his grandsons Steve and Alex Wallace. Services will be held at Chapel of the Hills in Los Gatos Friday, Oct. 2 at 1 PM

5 SEP 2009

Alton E. Chamberlin

Alton E. Chamberlin, 85, passed away Sept. 5, 2009. He was preceded in death, last December, by his loving wife, LaVona, with whom he shared a wonderful life for 63 years. Al was interred, alongside LaVona, on Sept. 15, 2009, at Punchbowl, the National Memorial Cemetery of The Pacific in Honolulu. Internment followed a dedicating service with full military honors.

Al is survived by four children, Gary Chamberlin, and his wife, My, of Honolulu, Roxane Cook, and her husband, Don, of Villa Rica, Ga., Guy Chamberlin, and his wife, Kandy, of Roswell, and Nora Brainerd, and her husband, Tim, of Roswell. He is also survived by his grandchildren, Bart Chamberlin, and his wife, Terah, Janet Chamberlin, Jason Cook, Jeremy Cook, Alex Chamberlin and Eryn Chamberlin. Further survivors include sisters-in-law, Mildred Stroade, of San Angelo, Texas, and Tomellen “Tommie” Burnett, of Roswell; nieces, Sherry Dean, Abbie Burnett and Carolyn Stroade; nephew, Mike Burnett; and numerous cousins whom he loved dearly.

He was also preceded in death by his parents, E. M. and Jessie E. Chamberlin; stepmother, Ethel Chamberlin; brother, Robert C. “Bob” Chamberlin; brothers-in-law, Clyde Burnett, Fred Stroade and Walter Dean; and sister-in-law, Arbie Dean.

Al was born in Florence, Colo., on Aug. 14, 1924, to E.M. and Jessie Chamberlin. He grew up in Borger, Texas, and Madison, Wis., before joining the Army Air Corps in 1943, which became the Air Force in 1947. He had a distinguished 33-year military career, achieving the rank of colonel before retiring in 1976. The military took Al to Walker Air Field in Roswell in 1945, where he met the love of his life, LaVona. Al first trained as a bombardier and, later, a photo mapping specialist with a master navigator rating, having flown thousands of hours in RB-29s, RB-50s and RC-135 aircraft. His missions had him photographing virtually every square mile of this Earth. Travels were extensive and there were many days spent away from home, but that did not deter him from being a devoted and loving husband and father. He made the most of his time with family by sharing his wealth of knowledge, teaching us mechanics, home repair and life skills, “if” we would listen. His love for travel spilled over into family and we would hit the road with an RV whenever we could, traversing the United States like he did the world. After spending nearly three years in Hawaii, Al retired and moved to Roswell, where he and LaVona finished raising their children and continued traveling with various RV associations and groups such as a California Cortez group, and Cactus Sam and Smokey Bear clubs of Roswell. They never missed an opportunity to talk about the many wonderful friends met during these travels. They also loved spending winters in Surprise, Ariz., and on the beach in Puerto Penasco, Mexico. In August 2008, Al and LaVona returned to Hawaii where they resided, enjoying their passion of palm trees, warm tropical breezes and sandy beaches. Al’s life adventure concluded in Hawaii and he now joins his wife once again as they embark on their next journey together, traveling the heavens and watching over us all. Aloha, Dad.

22 JUL 2009

James T. Osnes

James 'Jim' T. Osnes, 69, of Brighton, died July 22, 2009, in Thornton, CO.

He was born April 1, 1940, in Independence, Iowa, to James V. and Vera I. (Eden) Osnes. He was a 1958 graduate of Covina High School in Covina, Calif. He earned an associates degree from Mount San Antonio College in West Covina, Calif. Jim married Teresa Nabors Sept. 23, 1967, in Atlanta, GA.

Jim served in the United States Air Force as a Photomapper in the South Pacific islands and was a GA plane pilot. He worked as an airline mechanic for Western, Delta, Western Pacific, Frontier and Cherry Air airlines and retired in 2006. He was a resident of the Brighton area for 31 years. Jim was a volunteer demonstrator for the Adams County Museum, a founding member of the Colorado Old Iron Association and the Front Range Antique Power Association.

Survivors include his mother; his wife; sons, Jim (Michelle) Osnes II, of Colorado Springs, and Mike Osnes, of Lubbock, Texas; daughter, Jennifer (Jerry) Kite, of Brighton; brothers, Ken Osnes of Covina; and four grandchildren.

A memorial service is at 10:30 a.m., July 30, at Risen Savior Lutheran Church, 3031 E. 144th Avenue, Broomfield. Graveside services will be at 11 a.m., July 31, at Fort Logan National Cemetery, Staging Area A, Denver.

The Commerce City Sentinel is your source for local news, sports, events, and information in Adams County and Commerce City, CO, and the surrounding area.

14 JUN 2009

Brigadier General Ralph Steakley, USAF(ret.), Melbourne, FL

   Ralph Douglas (Doug) Steakley, Brig Gen, USAF (Ret) died on Sunday, June 14, 2009.

  Doug was born June 13, 1919 in Columbus, Ohio. He received a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Maryville College in 1941. Upon graduation, he joined the Army Air Corps as an aviation cadet, Class 42A. Commissioned a 2nd Lt. in January 1942, he trained on B-17s, but was selected as the Aircraft Commander of a B-29 adapted for photo reconnaissance. Assigned to Saipon on November 1, 1944, he flew the first airplane, "Tokyo Rose", over Tokyo, since the Doolittle raids in 1942, photographing potential targets for bombing by the B-29s. He received the Distinguished Flying Cross for this mission. Other missions over Japan included recon flights over Hiroshima and Nagasaki before and after the nuclear bombings.

  From 1945 to 1947, he was a pilot for Pan American Airlines.

  Recalled to active duty in 1947 by the newly formed U.S. Air Force, he became the reconnaissance expert in the Air Force, which led to a succession of assignments and promotions. As Deputy Director for Reconnaissance, J-3 of the Joint Staff, he was involved in the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Pueblo Incident, and the attack on the Liberty.

  Some medals received were the Distinguished Service Medal, the Distinguished Flying Cross with one Oak Leaf Cluster, the Bronze Star, Air Medal, Army Commendation Medal, and the Joint Chief of Staff Service Badge.

Retiring from the Air Force in 1970, he joined Westinghouse Electric Corporation as Assistant to the General Manager of the Oceanic Division and Manager, Special Programs Division until 1985.

  In 1990, he moved with Mary, his wife of 44 years, to the Indian River Colony Club, Melbourne, FL, where he gave his considerable talents to bingo, bass fishing, and helping his neighbors. He was a Life Member of the Military Officers Association of America, as well as a member of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers, the 3rd Photo Reconnaissance Squadron, and the Order of the Daedalians.

  Survivors include his wife, Mary Wilson Huggins of Melbourne, FL; sons, Douglas Steakley, Jr. (wife, Jackie; daughter, Nicole) of Carmel Valley, CA, James Steakley of Madison, WI, and Bruce Steakley (wife, Caryn and daughter, Emily) of McLean, VA; brother, Wiley Steakley of Ft. Walton Beach, FL.

  Burial will be in Arlington National Cemetery on September 30, 2009.

  In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the IRCC Foundation, 1936 Freedom Drive, Melbourne, FL 32940; Wuesthoff Brevard Hospice, PO Box 565002, Melbourne, FL 32940; or the Brevard Alzheimers Foundation, Inc., 4676 N. Wickham Rd., Melbourne, FL 32935.

Published in FLORIDA TODAY on June 21, 2009

19 MAY 2009

4 MAY 2009

Lewis Courson

He passed away May 4 at the age of 88. Thank you for keeping in touch with him. He really enjoyed his association with the Photomappers. Blessings

Submitted By Pam Courson


Vilott, Warren Vincent, MSGT, USAF, Retired

Warren V. Vilott passed away Tuesday, April 28, 2009, at his home north of Alamogordo surrounded by his family. He was born Dec. 18, 1919.

Submitted By his daughter, Vickie Rought


Colonel Charles F. Knierim, USAF, Ret.

  Charles Frederick Knierim, 94, of Macon, died Tuesday, April 14, 2009.

  Col. Knierim was born July 5, 1914 in Bryceland, La., to Thomas Albert and Myrtle Henson Knierim. He grew up in Natchitoches, La., and attended Louisiana Normal College.

  Col. Knierim joined the U.S. Army Air Corps at 19 years of age as a Private and retired as a Colonel from the United States Air Force. He served in both North Africa and Europe during World War II and was responsible for the aerial reconnaissance that remapped Europe following the war.

  During the Korean conflict he commanded a reconnaissance squadron. During his 35-year career Col. Knierim served in numerous command and staff positions to include commanding several reconnaissance squadrons and being a member of the faculty of the National War College. He retired as Commander of Charleston (S.C.) Air Force Base. He was a lifetime member of the Order of the Daedalions. His military decorations include Master Pilot Wings and the Legion of Merit w/OLC. He was also a Life Member of The Air Force Photo Mapping Association

  Col. Knierim was a member of Mulberry Street United Methodist Church and the Solomon Fellowship Sunday School Class. He was a member of the Macon Golden Kiwanis Club.

  Col. Knierim was preceded in death by his beloved wife of sixty-five years, Mary Ragsdale Knierim, his brothers Thomas Albert, Jr. and William Robert, and his sister Cornelia Knierim.

  Col. Knierim is survived by his daughters Jane Knierim McDaniel, and her husband David, of Social Circle, Ga., and Alice Knierim of Macon; three grandchildren, Katherine McDaniel Hiu, and her husband Eric, Maj., U.S. Army, of Portsmouth, Va., Matthew Frederick Knierim McDaniel, and his wife, Dorothy, of Columbus, Ga., and Thomas Roberts McDaniel, and his wife Suzanne, of Statham, Ga.; and three great granddaughters, Jesse Nicole Filyaw-Hiu, Alexa Grace Malia Hiu, and Ana Claire Leilani Hiu of Portsmouth, Va.

  A memorial service will be held at 2P.M., Sunday, April 26, 2009 at Social Circle United Methodist Church with the Rev. Bill Rollins officiating.

Macon,GA Telegraph


James E. Oliver

James E. Oliver, Major (Retired) USAF. Age 71 of Nashville, TN, a native of Union City, TN, died on March 29, 2009 after a lengthy struggle with Parkinson's. He was preceded in death by parents, Elwyn Oliver and Rubye Oliver Armstrong; sister, Margaret May and brother, Elwyn Oliver, Jr. Jim is survived by his wife of 48 years, Mariloyce Wilson Oliver; daughter, Cindy (David) Henry of Knoxville, TN; son, James E. (Bianca) Oliver, Jr. of San Jose, CA; and granddaughters, Taylor and Chase Henry. The family is especially grateful to caregiver, Mary Ann Patterson, their "special angel", for her faithful care for Jim during his last days.

A graduate of the University of Maryland, Jim served 20 years in the USAF, accumulating more than 11,000 hours in fixed-wing and helicopter aircraft. He served in Vietnam as Rescue Crew Commander, flying Jolly Green Giant helicopters. At the time of his retirement in 1977, he was Liaison Officer for the Civil Air Patrol to the Air Force for the State of TN.

After retirement, he worked as an FAA training specialist for 21 years. Jim also served as Chaplain for the American Legion Post 88. A Memorial service will be held at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 2, 2009 at Donelson Church of Christ, 2706 Old Lebanon Pike, Nashville, by Rob McRay. Visitation will be 5 - 7 p.m. prior to the service. Burial will be Friday, April 3, 2009 at 10 a.m., at the Veterans Cemetery in Pegram, TN. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Guardian Hospice, 800 Crescent Centre Drive, Three Corporate Center, Suite 550, Franklin, TN 37067.


Earl Strong

From: Margaret Strong


To: Dennis Davis

Date: Friday, July 10, 2009, 10:18 PM

Just received the newsletter today and have thoroughly enjoyed it.

However, I must advise you of the death of my sweetheart:

Earl Strong, Major/USAF (Ret.) departed this life March 17, 2009, in Mineral Wells, TX

His heart has always been with the USAF and his years with the 1370th Photomapping. I have always been so very proud of him and miss him like crazy! Hope you will keep sending me your newsletters and keeping me up to date with all that's going on.

Sincerely .... Margaret V. Strong

2105 SE 10th Street

Mineral Wells, TX 76067

14 MAR 2009


BORN: July 27, 1920

DIED: March 14, 2009


LUCCHESI, GENE A., 88, of Sanford passed away March 14, 2009. As longtime resident of Longwood, Gene was born in New York City and moved to Staten Island as a child. Gene joined the National Guard while attending Wagner College, Staten Island, NY and was called to active duty in 1940. He became a fighter pilot and later a bomber pilot in WW II in the Pacific. After the war he elected to stay in the Air Force and retired 33 years later as a Colonel. He retired to Florida, fine tuned his golf game and did a lot of wood working projects. He and his beloved wife Margie especially enjoyed Ballroom Dancing and continued their golf and traveling until her death in 2007. Gene was preceded in death by his wife of over 60 years, Margie and is survived by his son, Marc and his wife Marcia of Dallas; grandchildren, Matthew and Michelle; brother Neil and Sister, Rosemarie Kain.

© 2009 Tributes.Inc


Russell "Russ" Mass

Russell "Russ" Mass of Durango, CO, passed away on 9 March 2009

Submitted by Dale Kingsbury


Contos, Veronica (Flease)

  Veronica Contos, age 88, passed away unexpectedly on Wednesday, March 4, 2009. She was born in Weyauwega, Wisconsin August 16, 1920 and raised on the family farm as the oldest of six siblings. She served in the Army Air Corps during World War II, where she meet and married Roman Contos. The Contos family were stationed in Colorado, Florida, Puerto Rico, Louisiana, Kansas, Georgia, and in Ohio at Wright Patterson in 1963 which they made their home. Ronnie was very devoted and active member of St. Helens Catholic Church. She leaves behind to honor her life, her beloved husband Roman, her loving daughters Ann Dolphin of Bellbrook, Susan Contos of Denver, Colorado, and Margaret (Peggy) Gates of Chesterfield, Virginia, and her loving son Roman Contos Jr. of Dayton; Grandchildren: Todd, Shannon, Roman III, Nicholas, Rachel, and Andy; Great Grandson Hayden. Also survived are her three brothers Clair, Pete and Bob Flease; sisters Naomi Johnson and Virginia Heenan. A memorial service will be held for her on Monday, March 9, 11:00 AM, at St. Helens, Catholic Church. The family requests that in place of flowers, donations be made to St. Helens Church.

Published in the Dayton Daily News on 3/7/2009

Submitted by Dale Kingsbury


Donald F. Coyner

Colonel Donald F. Coyner (USAF retired), 85 of Bradenton, FL. slipped the surely bonds of earth, put out his hand and touched the face of God on Feb. 27, 2009.

Col. Coyner was born in Winchester, IN, on Nov. 16, 1923. He is survived by his wife of 56 years Ruth; brother and sister-in-law William and Polly Coyner and sister Marie Brock and their families; sons Donald Coyner II, Robert Coyner and Sam Coyner; daughters Ann Carmichael and Mary Mix; son-in-law Craig Mix, and daughters-in-law Rosalie Coyner, Susan Coyner, and Emily Coyner; his nine grandchildren and one great-grandchild. A former athlete, combat and rescue pilot, and a WWII and Vietnam veteran, Don retired to Bradenton and was an active member of Redeemer Lutheran Church and Bradenton Country Club as well as a dedicated community volunteer. His love of family, country and God was exemplary. Throughout his life, Col. Coyner touched many people and positively influenced their lives. He was a highly respected citizen of Manatee County for the past thirty years. He will be greatly missed. A memorial service will be held at Redeemer Lutheran Church, 6311 3rd Ave. West, Bradenton, FL on Tuesday, March 3, 2009 at 10:30 am. A military internment service will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Redeemer Lutheran Church.

Submitted by Bob Storr

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