Obituary of Helen Baskin Pierce

Helen Baskin, born February 2, 1920, was a daughter of  Minnie Lee Hancock Baskin and Armstrong B. “Bee” Baskin.   In 1941, Helen Baskin was a sophomore at Georgia Teachers College (now Georgia Southern University). In 1943 she married  Wilmont C. Pierce.  After WWII, the couple made their home at Ray City, where Wilmont  engaged in farming with Helen’s father.   In 1968, the Pierces moved from Ray City to Valdosta, GA.

Obituary of Helen Baskin Pierce (1920-2004)

AXSON — Helen Baskin Pierce, 84, of Axson, passed away Tuesday, June 1, 2004, at South Georgia Medical Center, Valdosta, following a long illness. Mrs. Pierce was born on Feb. 2, 1920, growing up in Lanier County, the daughter of the late Armstrong B. Baskin and Minne Lee Hancock Baskin. She was preceded in death by her brothers and sister, John W. Baskin, Lakeland, Ga., Curtis L. Baskin, Groves, Texas, Louie Baskin, Alma, Ga., and Mary Frances Blalock, Atlanta.

She retired in June 1986, after serving 27 years as a civil service employee in Atlanta at Warner Robins Air Force Base and Moody Air Force Base. She served in various capacities at First Baptist Church, Ray City, Ga., her home church, before moving to Valdosta in 1968, where she was a member of First Baptist Church there. Currently, she resided in Coffee County and was a member of Stokesville Baptist Church.

Mrs. Pierce is survived by her husband of 61 years, Wilmont Candler Pierce, Axson; her sons, Michael J. Pierce, Olathe, Kan., W. Candler Pierce (Mary Ann), Richmond, R.I., Bobby L. Pierce (Kay), Axson; her grandchildren, Wade C. Pierce, Orlando, Fla., Keith H. Pierce, Tampa, Fla., M. Andrew Pierce, Bayminette, Ala., Jessica, Andrea and Justin Pierce Richmond, R.I., Lynn Eslinger (Jason), Cleveland, Tenn., Kim Hunter (Tim), Valdosta, and Krista L. Pierce, Valdosta, as well as three great-grandchildren. Her extended family included J.C. and Evelyn Pierce, Crawfordville, Ga., Howard and Dot Ray, Ray City, Jessie Hudson, Valdosta, McDonald and Betty Pierce and Dilmus and Burma Pierce, Lakeland, Vanelle Baskin, Gloria Baskin, Groves, Texas; 17 nieces and nephews.

The family will receive friends at Music Funeral Services, Lakeland, Ga., from 6-9 p.m. this evening. Mrs. Pierce will lie in state at First Baptist Church, Ray City, from 10-11 a.m. June 4, 2004. Memorial services will begin at 11 a.m. with the Rev. Lee Graham and the Rev. Bob L. Pierce officiating. Burial will follow in Unity United Methodist Church Cemetery near Lakeland, Ga. Sympathy may be expressed online at http://www.musicfuneralservices.com — Music Funeral Services of Lakeland

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Accidental Death of William Crawford Webb

William Crawford Webb.  Image courtesy of Jimmie Webb.

William Crawford Webb. Image courtesy of Jimmie Webb.

William Crawford Webb, born July 30 1907, was the twelfth of thirteen children born  Mary Jane “Mollie” Patten and John Thomas Webb.  He was born near Ray City,GA (fka Ray’s Mill) and grew up on his father’s  farm in the 1329 Georgia Militia District where, along with his ten brothers, he helped with the farm labor.

Several of his brothers served in the military. One brother,  Shellie Loyd Webb, was killed in the sinking of the Otranto during World War I.  It was not until 1928, when William was 21 years old, that his brother’s body was brought home from Islay, Scotland (see The Long Trip Home.)

During World War II, William C. Webb joined the Army enlisting on April 3, 1943 at Fort McPherson, Atlanta, GA.  He served as a Private, First Class in the Medical Corps of the Army Air Force. By December of 1943 he was at Drew Field, Tampa Florida.

That Christmas the base newspaper, The Drew Field Echo, ran a headline story on the new base hospital.  “It is the U. S. Army Medical Corps which keeps ’em healthy,” the paper said.

Drew Field Echo, 1942 Christmas Edition, Drew Army Air Field, Tampa Florida

Drew Field Echo, 1942 Christmas Edition, Drew Army Air Field, Tampa Florida. Image source: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00076231/00041

The story continued, “In the Station Hospital at Drew Field, the medical staff consists of doctors, dentists, sanitary engineers, veterinary officers, administrative officers, nurses, and highly trained enlisted men of all ranks and grades. The entire staff is bound together by a common ideal — to remove the fetters of disease and injury from the men in training in order to make them more effective combatants on the far-flung battle fields of the global war.”

His corps was honored in the Christmas paper, but Christmas was not to be for William Crawford Webb.  In late December, he had been furloughed and had gone home to Ray City, GA.  Following a tragic accident,  he was classified DNB by the Army –   “Died, Non-Battle.”

His obituary ran in the Nashville Herald:

The Nashville Herald
January 4, 1944

PFC William Crawford Webb Passed Away in Atlanta, Dec 23

PFC William Crawford Webb, 37, died a the Lawson General Hospital in Atlanta Saturday afternoon December 23 at 1 o’clock following injuries received when he fell out of a car enroute from Ray City to Moody Field a fews days earlier in the week.
    PFC Webb had spent his entire life in this county before entering the U.S. Army in April, 1942.  He was the son of the late J. T. Webb and Mrs. J. T. Webb of Ray City. In 1927 he was married to the former Miss Doris Knight, daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Lester Knight.
    At the time of the accident PFC Webb was at home on furlough and had been stationed at Drew Field, Tampa Fla. in the Medical Corps.  Following his injury he was rushed to the hospital at Moody Field and then carried by plane to the hospital in Atlanta on Tuesday.
    Funeral services were held December 26 at 3:30 o’clock at Pleasant Church in Berrien County.  Rev. Charlie Vickers of Nashville, and Elder John Davis of Pearson, conducting the services.  Burial was in the church cemetery.
    Survivors include beside the wife nine children.  Terrell, Heyward, Louise, Donald, Thomas, Bennie K., Jimmie, Linda, and Dean, all at home, his mother, Mrs. J. T. Webb of Ray City, and nine brothers, Dr. M. L. Webb and L. O. Webb of Tifton, L. H. Webb, H. P. Webb, and M. B. Webb of Ray City; H. W. Webb of Valdosta, U. T. Webb, J. T. Webb of Miami, Fla., and Sgt. Homer Webb of U. S. Army, Ill.

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Jamie Alden Connell, A Life of Service

http://berriencountyga.com/http://berriencountyga.com/A previous post about Jamie Connell mentioned his work as Public Relations Officer at Moody Air Force Base near Ray City, GA (see Jamie Connell worked at Moody AFB.)  Jamie Connell’s life of service had a broad foundation.

Jamie Alden Connell was a postal carrier in Nashville, GA prior to World War Two. Image courtesy of http://berriencountyga.com/

Jamie Alden Connell was a postal carrier in Nashville, GA prior to World War Two. Image courtesy of http://berriencountyga.com/

Jamie Connell prepared for his future career first by attending the preparatory school at Gordon Military Institute, Barnesville, GA.

Gordon Military Institute cadets on parade in 1941.

Gordon Military Institute cadets on parade in 1941.

Founded as Male and Female Seminary in 1852, this was a pioneer school of its kind in Georgia. It was reorganized in 1872 as Gordon Institute, named for General John B. Gordon, famed Confederate soldier… In 1927 this school became Gordon Military College, an Honor Military School, an accredited, non-sectarian, five year preparatory Junior College. 

Gordon Institute cadets often went on to other colleges or to military academies like the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York, Georgia Military Academy or North Georgia College. World War II  saw numerous Gordon alumni serving in Europe and in the Pacific, including Jamie Connell. In 1938, Jamie Connell transferred from Gordon Institute to North Georgia College.  He was listed as a freshman in the school’s 1938 Undergraduate Bulletin, which noted:

North Georgia College was originally organized and administered on a military basis which system has prevailed from the date of its founding. The college has been classified by the United States Government as an “essentially military college,” being one of eight colleges in the United States so designated. It is the only one in Georgia, and, since “essentially military colleges” endeavor to emulate the traditions of West Point, North Georgia College has well been called “Georgia’s “West Point.” General Robert Lee Bullard, formerly Commandant of Cadets and Professor of Military Science and Tactics, referred to the college as one of the two finest military schools in the country.

Jamie Connell, Cadet, North Georgia College, 1940. At North Georgia College, Cadet Sergent Connell was a member of the Camera Club,  served on the staff of the Cyclops college annual, and was editor of the Cadet Bugler, college newspaper.

Jamie Connell, Cadet, North Georgia College, 1940. At North Georgia College, Cadet Sergent Connell was a member of the Camera Club, served on the staff of the Cyclops college annual, and was editor of the Cadet Bugler, college newspaper.

As a North Georgia College Cadet, Jamie Connel was practicing for a future career in the military and public relations.   In 1940, he shared some of his experiences as Editor of the Cadet Bugler with The Atlanta Constitution.

The Atlanta Constitution
May 30, 1940

In American Schools

    From the North Georgia College has come a letter.  It was written by Jamie Connell, editor of The Cadet Bugler, campus publication. It is about the German propaganda that has flooded into his office, at the school, ever since the beginning of the 1939-40 school year.
    Some of the material, writes Connell, is far-fetched and horrible, like the alleged atrocities told in that pamphlet, already described in The Constitution, “Polish Acts of Atrocity Against the German Minority in Poland.”  Other is more like the sugar-coated pills you swallow without leaving a bad taste in your mouth.  Pamphlets attempting to justify the Nazi policy and emphasizing the cultural, moral, and economic nature of the German people.
    A large portion of this stuff is sent out bu the German Library of Information, 17 Battery Place, New York.  With it they send booklets of German carols and christmas toys for children.  More sugar coating.
    There are other propagandists who, deliberately or otherwise, are almost as great a menace and nuisance.  There is for instance, the Committee on Militarism in Education. That organization can protest so speciously against innocent facts that they become ridiculous.
    There is the American Committee for Democracy and Intellectual Freedom, the Youth Committee Against War. And others.  They all send their stuff to newspaper offices and, most dangerous of all, to such youth media as the Cadet Bugler at Dahlonega.
    Whether or not organizations which send out such material intend well, they should be immediate objectives of searching investigation by proper authorities.  They constitute a most subtle and dangerous “fifth column” in America and they attack at the point where the greater susceptibility to false argument exists, amongst the youth of the schools and colleges.  They are attempting to do what Hitler did with the youth of Germany, mould them to their desire while yet they are young.
    Most of the stuff these groups send out goes, naturally, to the waste basket.  American editors are not gullible.  But even though the percentage of scattered seed that takes root is small, it is nonetheless dangerous and the scattering should be halted at the source before it can do still further harm.

Jamie Connell's 1943 greeting card. Image courtesy of http://berriencountyga.com/

Jamie Connell’s 1943 greeting card. Image courtesy of http://berriencountyga.com/

Following graduation  from North Georgia College, Jamie Connell entered active military service. Jamie Connell enlisted in the Army on March 6, 1943 .  He was a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army Air Force.

In a January 14, 1944 Nashville News note, the Valdosta Times commented briefly about Jamie’s service status:

Lt. Jamie Connell, navigator-bombadier of New Mexico, is spending a while here [Nashville, GA] with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. A. J. Connell while on a 14 day furlough.

A postcard produced from photos taken by Jamie Connell, circa 1950s.

A postcard produced from photos taken by Jamie Connell, circa 1950s.

Jamie Connell served in the Army Air Force until discharged January 25, 1946.  He returned to college to finish his studies at the University of Georgia’s  Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, graduating in the class of 1948.  Afterward, he went to work in journalism for the Berrien Press, of which he became part owner.  Continuing his association with the military, he became a public relations officer at Moody Air Force Base. Many photographs of people and places around Berrien County that were taken by Jamie Connell have been entered into the Berrien County Historical Foundation photo collection at http://berriencountyga.com/.  Some of his work found a commercial market.

Jamie Alden Connell. Image detail courtesy of http://berriencountyga.com/

Jamie Alden Connell. Image detail courtesy of http://berriencountyga.com/

Jamie Connell retired from Moody Air Force Base in 1971.  He died October 17, 1973 at the age of 53 and was buried at Westview Cemetery, Nashville, GA. In 1973, a University of Georgia scholarship for academic excellence was established in his name.

According to the Grady College website:

The Jamie Connell Memorial Award is in honor of Alden Jamie Connell who graduated from the Grady College in 1948 after serving his country in World War II. His sister, Ms. Dura Connell of Macon, Ga., established this fund in memory of her brother upon his death in 1973. Jamie Connell prided himself on being a professional. He was a photographer with the U.S. Air Force and after leaving the service, became the photographer a newspaper. His love and enjoyment of photography led his sister to establish this scholarship.

The school has also honored Jamie Connell with an annual photography competition bearing his name.

Nazi Prisoners at Moody Field Worked Ray City Farms

During WWII roughly 372,000 German POWs were held in about 600 prisoners of war camps operated by the U.S. Army across the United States.  One such prison camp was established at  Moody Army Air Field (now Moody Air Force Base), about 7 miles south of Ray City, GA.

Walter and Herman Schroer, Elias M. “Hun” Knight and Lewis Bauknight were among those who used German POWs from Moody Field to help with farm labor. The Schroers operated a bedding plant farm just south of Ray City and employed more than 100 German prisoners  to pull and bundle the plants.  Hun Knight and Lewis Bauknight had work for about six to eight prisoners each week  during the summer cropping tobacco. In Lowndes and surrounding counties, German POWs  also worked sugar cane, peanuts, and especially timber.

WWII German Prisoners of War in Georgia.
WWII German Prisoners of War in Georgia. Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/51916128@N03/5085141454/

The German POWs first arrived at Moody Field just before Thanksgiving in 1943. News accounts heralding the arrival focused on the economic benefits and the security of the prison camp.

The Valdosta Times
November 22, 1943 

NAZI PRISONERS NOW AT MOODY

Officials of Local Post to Confer Today With City and County Authorities on Labor Activities

MOODY FIELD, Ga. – Officials from this Army Air Forces Pilot School were to confer today with Valdosta and Lowndes county officials in regard to work activities of the German prisoners of war now quartered at this post.

The conference was scheduled in an effort to aid in the labor shortage of this section, which has been highlighted by demands for farm and other labor, depleted by war industries and armed services.

The group of prisoners arrived at Moody Field last week-end and will be under the supervision of Lt. Edward T. Lillis of Arlington, Va., Prisoner of War Camp Commander, who commands the contingent of the 315th Military Police Escort Guard Company, assigned to guard the Nazis. Lt. Lillis arrived at Moody Field from Camp Blanding, Fla.

The Nazi prisoners are being quartered in buildings on the parade ground, near the motor pool of this Pilot School. The Military Police have their quarters in the same area, outside the prison stockade.

In November of 1943, newspaper articles in the Atlanta Constitution were commenting on the POW camps and  laborers  in Georgia.

The Atlanta Constitution
Nov. 23, 1943 

“There are individual [pulpwood] producers in and around Valdosta who have been making shipments weekly in excess of 200 carloads, because of available manpower from farms.  Production is expected to soar even higher after this week, it being planned to put a number of German war prisoners from Moody Field into the woods beginning Monday, and things will move smoothly unless the shipments should cause a shortage in transportation. – 

The Atlanta Constitution
November 28, 1943, pg 14A

VALDOSTA, Ga., Nov. 27. –  Lieutenant Edward T. Lillis, who commands the contingent of the Military Escort Guard Company, assigned to guarding the German prisoners of war at Moody Field, was the guest speaker Thursday at the dedication of the annex and recreation center of the Valdosta Hebrew congregation.

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Judge William Daniel "Jack" Knight, son of E.M. "Hun" Knight and Gladys Daniel Knight. He served as a judge of the Superior Courts of the Alapaha Judicial Circuit, 1977-1996.

Judge William Daniel “Jack” Knight, son of E.M. “Hun” Knight and Gladys Daniel Knight. He served as a judge of the Superior Courts of the Alapaha Judicial Circuit, 1977-1996.

The late Judge W.D. “Jack” Knight, of Berrien County, was a boy of ten growing up at Ray City when the German POW camp was established at Moody Field.  He later recalled how the German prisoners worked on his father’s farm:

It was 1943 or 1944 , German WWII prisoners were kept in a stockade or prison at Moody Air Force Base.

 My Daddy, (E. M. “Hun” Knight) had a farm located three miles south of Moody Air Force Base in those years. On this farm lived Lewis and Loudell Bauknight, who were “tenant farmers”.  Corn, peanuts and tobacco were the main crops grown, but sometimes watermelons and cucumbers were grown on a “share crop basis”.

My Daddy and Lewis received permission from the military authorities to work a group of these prisoners on our farm “cropping” tobacco.  Lewis would go to Moody AFB early each morning in his old pickup truck and get the prisoners and transport them back to our farm for work. As I recall the prisoners would sit in the back of the truck and the MP (armed guard) would sit in front with Lewis.  There would usually be six or eight prisoners working each time and they would bring their lunch which had been prepared in the “mess” at Moody AFB.

Each group would have one or two who could speak English and they would receive instructions from Lewis as to how to “crop” the tobacco and translate it on to the other prisoners.  When they first began to work they wanted to “crop” all the leaves off the tobacco stalk and had to be told to only “crop” three leaves from each stalk.

They were dressed in military clothes (brown) with a large “PW” on their backs. The all had military issue shoes and were real neat with short hair cuts and most of them had blonde hair.

At this time, I was ten years old and worked on the farm each time that tobacco was gathered and was very impressed by this entire matter.  As I recall, my daddy had to pay each prisoner twenty-five  or fifty cents per day as the military didn’t want people to say we were using slave labor on the farms.

Each time they came, Lewis’ wife, Loudell, (an excellent cook) would prepare a huge farm dinner for all of us who worked at the barn.  She would always give them som of that food and they very quickly began to like it, and the same group wanted to come back to our farm for each tobacco gathering which was once each week during the summer months.
~ Judge W. D. Jack Knight

German POWs at a prison camp in Georgia. Source: http://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/nge/Article.jsp?id=h-592

German POWs at a prison camp in Georgia.  Source: http://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/nge/Article.jsp?id=h-592

Area residents found the German prisoners intriguing from several perspectives.  These were the enemies that the native sons of south Georgia were fighting against;  they were Hitler’s “supermen.”  And they were the economic salvation of the region, in a time when the available farm labor had all been recruited for the war effort.  Many residents would later recall seeing truckloads of German POWs being transported around the region under military guard, to serve as laborers on the farms and timber lands of the Wiregrass.  In an Op/Ed piece, the Valdosta Times commented on the myth and facts of the German prisoners of war that were interned at Moody Field.

The Valdosta Times
Monday, December 6, 1943

HEIL ROOSEVELT

The appearance of German prisoners at work in various places about this section has been creating quite a stir lately. Crowds have flocked to these spots to get a view of the Germans, anxious to see what they look like…only to find that they look just about like the Americans they see on the street every day…exploding in their minds any ideas they may have had about Hitler’s race of “supermen.”

It seems there’s been a false impression made by the rumors going the rounds that the Nazi prisoners are not such good workers. Reports coming in from the pulpwood operators and others employing the prisoners indicate that the prisoners are catching on speedily to jobs which the have never done, and which they have never seen done.

One pulpwood operator, S.M. Hemingway, is quick in telling you that the German prisoners of war are the happiest bunch of fellows he ever saw, and that he ever saw, and that they are easy to guard, since the last thing they seem to have on their minds is the idea of leaving three squares daily, comfortable living quarters and the regular pay they receive … only for a chance to escape to their own bomb-ridden country where they would be again sent into battle to face death.  Their chances of getting back are nil, anyhow.  Mr. Hemingway says that while the Germans are entirely “green” when it comes to cutting pulpwood, they are good workers, and learning fast.  He also states that they are witty, and enjoy a good joke as well as the next fellow.

This writer visited a few of them at work at the Nat Smith brick warehouse one afternoon last week, where they were hard at work unloading fertilizer from boxcars.  They were in high spirits.  One of the prisoners, while waiting to load the wheelbarrows, had drawn on the side of the car, in the dust of the fertilizer, an image of President Roosevelt.  Probably they wanted someone’s picture to heil.

 South Georgians would later recall the impact of the German prisoners, and the positive cultural interchange that occurred, even under difficult war-time conditions.

The Charlotte Observer
May 5, 2002

German POWs Affected the South

  Harley Langdale had a hard time finding ablebodied workers during World War II, so he didn’t hesitate when offered hundreds of strong former soldiers who would cut timber, plant seedlings and clear land.

    The soldiers weren’t American heroes returning from the front. They were German prisoners of war, some of the hundreds of thousands taken to camps in the United States-most of them in the South.

“Some people were afraid of them,” said Langdale, 87. “They thought some would get away but we never did have any serious incidents.”

The camps are an all-but-forgotten part of history, but the prisoners did leave some remnants behind in south Georgia and throughout the country.

Langdale’s POWs came from camps at Moody Field near Valdosta and Fargo, an isolated Okefenokee Swamp town. They planted many of the azaleas at what is now Moody Air Force Base, and there still is a “Prison Camp Road” north of Fargo.

Some 700 internment camps were thrown up in the United States to detain 426,000 enemy soldiers, who arrived sometimes at a rate of 30,000 a month. Some Americans resented the relative comfort and food provided the enemy soldiers. Texans called camps the “Fritz Ritz.”

But Georgians said the Germans won people over.

“I got the impression they were glad to be over here,” said Langdale, chairman of the Langdale Co., a major south Georgia timber company. “I didn’t see any animosity toward us at all.”

Although there were a few Japanese and Italian prisoners, most were Germans.

“The young women from the area…remember they were good-looking and didn’t spit, because they didn’t chew tobacco,” said Renate Milner, a German-born historian in Valdosta who is writing a book about the POWs.

The German internees are still remembered for their skills and hard work. With most of America’s young men overseas, the POWs helped overcome a labor shortage by harvesting crops and doing other physical labor for 80 cents a day.  

About 466 of the 700 camps were in the South; Georgia had 40 with 11,800 prisoners, Milner said.

“The government classified them as unskilled laborers, but in reality they were very skilled carpenters, mechanics and goldsmiths,” Milner said. “They were pulled into the military at 16 or 17, but by then, they had already been trained” in technical schools.

Audrey Peters, 77, worked at Moody Field during the war. The Valdosta woman still has a wooden jewelry box made by one of the prisoners, who carved “Gerhard Todte, Moody Field 1.9.1945” on the bottom.

“They were nice people,” she said. “Of course we didn’t fraternize with them. I tried to locate him, but I couldn’t. I wanted to see how he was doing and thank him for the box.”

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For more on German POWs in Georgia, see:

Jamie Connell worked at Moody AFB

After graduating from high school Jamie Alden Connell, of Nashville, GA   attended North Georgia College for two years and completed his degree at the University of Georgia. He served in WWII, and later worked at Moody AFB near Ray City.  Photos below are from the 1939 and 1940 editions of The Cyclops, year book of North Georgia College.

Jamie Connell. 1939. North Georgia College.

Jamie Connell. 1939. North Georgia College.

Jamie Connell. 1940. North Georgia College.

Jamie Connell. 1940. North Georgia College.

Jamie Connel, 1939, with other members of the Y.M.C.A. at North Georgia College.

Jamie Connel, 1939, with other members of the Y.M.C.A. at North Georgia College.

Obituary
Jamie Alden Connell

Jamie Connell, age 53 of Nashville, died October 17, 1973 in Tift General Hospital.  He was co-editor of the Berrien Press, and had been since it was organized in 1959.  He was a graduate of the University of Georgia, veteran of WWII; worked at the Nashville Post Office for several years; was public relations officer at Moody Field until his retirement two years ago. Funeral services were at the Nashville Baptist Church, and burial was in Westview Cemetery. Survivors: his mother, Mrs. Pearl Connell; 1 sister, Miss Dura Connell of Macon, and 1 brother – Ellis Connell of Warner Robins.

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Ruth Boyette Married Dillard Markham During WWII

On New Year’s  Day, 1943 the Clinch County News announced the marriage of Ruth Boyette and Sergeant Dillard Maurice Markham.  She was from Ray City, GA, a daughter of Hattie Mae Dean  and Grover Gordon Boyette.    She was born September 7, 1920 near Ray City, in that part of Berrien County, GA that  two months later would be cut into the newly created Lanier County.  Her grandfather, John Boyette, was among those who fought the creation of the new county (Ray City Citizens Fought Creation of Lanier County). Sergeant Markham was a WWII soldier stationed at Moody Air Field near Ray City.

Ruth Boyette and Dillard Markham marriage announcement, 1943.

Ruth Boyette and Dillard Markham marriage announcement, 1943.

Clinch County News
January 1, 1943

Miss Boyette Weds Sgt. Markham

    Miss Ruth Boyette of Homerville and Ray City, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. G. G. Boyette of Ray City, became the bride of Sgt. Dilliard M. Markham of Moody Field, Valdosta, son of Mr. and Mrs. E. D. Markham of Goodes, Va., on December 19 at an impressive ceremony solemnized at the home of Mr. and Mrs. W. C. Wooten of Homerville.
    White gladioli and graceful ferns were used for the living room decorations and formed a beautiful background for the ceremony. Rev. L. C. Harvard, Methodist minister, officiated.

The Markhams made their home in Lynchburg, VA where they operated a successful produce business.  Ruth Boyette Markham died November 2, 2008.  Dillard Markham died March 18, 2010.

 The News & Advance 
November 4, 2008

Ruth Boyette Markham

    Ruth Boyette Markham, of Lynchburg, died Sunday, Nov. 2, 2008. She was the loving wife of Dillard Maurice Markham for 66 years.
    Mrs. Markham was born in Lanier County, Ga., on Sept. 7, 1920, to the late Grover Gordon Boyette and the late Hattie Mae Dean Boyette. Ruth was devoted to raising her family and helping in the family business, Markham Produce.
    In addition to her husband, she is survived by her son, Dillard A. Markham of Columbia, S.C.; her daughter, Sally M. Tinsley of Lynchburg; one brother, Hansel Lincoln Boyette and his wife, Connie, of Lakeland, Ga.; and two grandchildren, Robert E. Tinsley III and Whitney S. Tinsley, both of Lynchburg. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by one sister, Mary Boyette Mercier.
    The family will receive friends from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2008, at Tharp Funeral Home, Lynchburg. A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 6, 2008, in the chapel of Tharp Funeral Home. Interment will follow in Virginia Memorial Park.
    Memorial contributions may be made to Hospice of the Hills, 3300 Rivermont Ave., Lynchburg, VA 24503.
Tharp Funeral Home and Crematory, Lynchburg, is assisting the family, (434) 237-9424. Condolences may be sent to the family by visiting www.tharpfuneralhome.com.

Obituary
Dillard Maurice Markham,  March 18, 2010

Dillard Maurice Markham passed away Thursday, March 18 at his residence.  Born April 2, 1920, in Bedford County, a son of the late Elmor Dove Markham and the late Gracie Markham.

In addition to his parents he was preceded in death by his wife, Ruth Boyette Markham, his daughter Sally Markham Tinsley, four brothers and three sisters.

In 1949 Mr. Markham opened Markham Wholesale Produce.  After 50 years of serving the community he became known as Grand Daddy Markham to all the stores, restaurants, friends in Virginia and all the South Eastern states.  He proudly served his country during WWII as a member of the US Air Force. He was loved by all.

Dillard is survived by a son, Dillard A. Markham, Columbia, SC, two grandchildren: Whitney S. Tinsley and Robert E. Tinsley, III, of Lynchburg, a brother, Stuart Markham of Lynchburg, a sister, Dorothy Markham Garrett, and numerous nieces and nephews.

The family will receive friends today from 3:00-5:00 p.m. at Tharp Funeral Home, Lynchburg. A funeral service will be held Monday, March 22, 2010 at 11:00 a.m. at Keystone Baptist Church with Dr. Monty Fox officiating. Burial will follow in Virginia Memorial Park with military honors provided by American Legion Post 16.
Memorial contributions may be made to Hospice of the Hills, 3300 Rivermont Ave. Lynchburg, VA 24503.

The family would like to thank Marva Henderson, who was Dillard’s friend and care giver for four years.

Tharp Funeral Home & Crematory, Lynchburg, is assisting the family, 434-237-9424.

George W. Bush Flew Ray City Skies

George Walker Bush graduated from flight school at Moody Air Force Base near Ray City, GA

George Walker Bush graduated from flight school at Moody Air Force Base near Ray City, GA.

President George W. Bush: Military Pilot

In the winter of 1968 while a senior at Yale , George  Walker Bush went to Westover Air Force Base in Massachusetts to be tested as a pilot candidate.  He joined the Texas Air Guard on May 27, 1968, with the rank of Airman Basic and began basic training next day at Lackland Air Force Base near San Antonio. He served as an enlisted man in “active duty for training” for three months. On September 4, 1968, he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant and assigned to the 111th Fighter Interceptor Squadron (147th FI Group) at Ellington AFB near Houston.

On November 21, 1968 he was sent to the 3550th Student Squadron at Moody AFB in Georgia for flight training. If he followed the usual regimen, he would have flown 30 hours in a T-41–a military version of the familiar Cessna 172 –before advancing to T-37 and T-38 jet trainers. At the end of his first year in the Air Guard, his 201 (personnel) file credited him with 226 days as an officer. Adding 95 days as an enlisted man, he served nearly eleven months during his first year in the Air Guard.

Did George W. Bush ever visit Ray City, GA while he was stationed at Moody AFB? Many pilots do. He certainly would have flown the skies over town as he made the final approach for landings at the base

Did George W. Bush visit Ray City, GA while he was stationed at Moody AFB? Many pilots do. He certainly would have flown the skies over town as he made the final approach for landings at the base

Bush graduated No. 23 out of the 53 pilots in his class at Moody. His father, then a Texas Congressman, gave the squadron’s commencement speech in November 1969. On November 30, 1969, Bush returned to the 111th FIS at Ellington AFB and received his pilot’s wings in March 1970.

Pentagon records released in September 2004 show that Bush flew a total of 326.4 hours as pilot-in-command over the three years 1970-1972. In addition, he was credited with 9.9 hours as co-pilot, presumably in a two-seat TF-102A trainer while qualifying to fly the supersonic jet. The records show Bush’s last flight was in April 1972.

Military Record of George W. Bush

Military Record of George W. Bush

Aircraft flown during 1968 Flight School at  Moody Air Force Base

The T-41 trainer is a standard Cessna Model 172 light general aviation aircraft purchased "off-the-shelf" by the Air Force for preliminary flight screening of USAF pilot candidates. The first 170 T-41As were ordered in 1964, and an additional 34 were ordered in 1967. Most went into service at various civilian contract flight schools, each located near one of Air Training Command's Undergraduate Pilot Training (UPT) bases. In 1968 and 1969 the USAF Academy acquired 52 T-41Cs, with more powerful engines, for cadet flight training.

The T-41 trainer is a standard Cessna Model 172 light general aviation aircraft purchased “off-the-shelf” by the Air Force for preliminary flight screening of USAF pilot candidates. The first 170 T-41As were ordered in 1964, and an additional 34 were ordered in 1967. Most went into service at various civilian contract flight schools, each located near one of Air Training Command’s Undergraduate Pilot Training (UPT) bases. In 1968 and 1969 the USAF Academy acquired 52 T-41Cs, with more powerful engines, for cadet flight training.

Cessna T-37 Tweet. From 1961 to 1975 there were no changes in the mission or responsibilities at Moody. The 3550th, under the Consolidated Pilot Training Program, trained Air Force officers as aircrew members with the Cessna T-37 and T-38. During this 14 years, 4,432 pilots were trained and received their wings. Base personnel strength varied during the period from 2,000 to 3,000 military personnel. On 1 December 1973, the 3550th Pilot Training Wing inactivated and the 38th Flying Training Wing activated in its place; however, no changes in personnel, mission, or aircraft ensued.

Cessna T-37 Tweet. From 1961 to 1975 there were no changes in the mission or responsibilities at Moody. The 3550th, under the Consolidated Pilot Training Program, trained Air Force officers as aircrew members with the Cessna T-37 and T-38. During this 14 years, 4,432 pilots were trained and received their wings. Base personnel strength varied during the period from 2,000 to 3,000 military personnel. On 1 December 1973, the 3550th Pilot Training Wing inactivated and the 38th Flying Training Wing activated in its place; however, no changes in personnel, mission, or aircraft ensued.

Northrop T-38 Talon. The T-38 Talon is a twin-engine, high-altitude, supersonic jet trainer used in a variety of roles because of its design, economy of operations, ease of maintenance, high performance and exceptional safety record. It is used primarily by Air Education and Training Command for undergraduate pilot and pilot instructor training. Air Combat Command, Air Mobility Command and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration also use the T-38 in various roles. The instructor and student sit in tandem on rocket-powered ejection seats in a pressurized, air-conditioned cockpit. Student pilots fly the T-38A to learn supersonic techniques, aerobatics, formation, night and instrument flying and cross-country navigation. More than 60,000 pilots have earned their wings in the T-38A.

Northrop T-38 Talon. The T-38 Talon is a twin-engine, high-altitude, supersonic jet trainer used in a variety of roles because of its design, economy of operations, ease of maintenance, high performance and exceptional safety record. It is used primarily by Air Education and Training Command for undergraduate pilot and pilot instructor training. Air Combat Command, Air Mobility Command and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration also use the T-38 in various roles. The instructor and student sit in tandem on rocket-powered ejection seats in a pressurized, air-conditioned cockpit. Student pilots fly the T-38A to learn supersonic techniques, aerobatics, formation, night and instrument flying and cross-country navigation. More than 60,000 pilots have earned their wings in the T-38A.

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Herman Knight Guthrie ~ 1948 Junior Class President

Herman Knight Guthrie, Junior Class President of 1948, Ray City School, Ray City, GA

Herman Knight Guthrie, Junior Class President of 1948, Ray City School, Ray City, GA

Herman Knight Guthrie was raised in Ray City, GA where many of the Guthrie family connection have resided.  As a student, he attended the Ray City School, and was President of the Junior Class of 1948.

Herman Knight Guthrie passed away in 2006. His obituary was published in the Valdosta Times:

Valdosta Daily Times
21 Mar 2006
Valdosta , GA , Us..

    Herman Knight Guthrie, 72, of Valdosta, passed away Sunday morning, March 19, 2006, at his residence after a brief illness.

   He was born in Winter Haven, Fla. on Nov. 3, 1933, to the late Herman Brown and Agnes Knight Guthrie. At an early age, he and his family moved to Ray City where he lived until his graduation from Berrien County High School. He served in the United States Air Force as a aircraft mechanic in Japan and French Indochina. After returning to Valdosta he continued his career as an aircraft mechanic at Moody Air Force Base. He owned and operated Guthrie’s Gulf for 15 years. He returned to Moody in the transit maintenance department where he retired in 1995. One of his favorite pasttimes was auto racing, which he pursued as one of the founders of Thunderbowl Speedway. He was a member of the First Baptist Church of Valdosta for more than 50 years. His wife, Mary Jane Brooks Guthrie, preceded him in death.

    Survivors include two sons and daughter-in-law, Gary and Susan Guthrie of Powder Springs and Brad Guthrie of Valdosta; two grandchildren, Branyon Guthrie and Sarah Guthrie; brother and sister-in-law, Carroll and Jacque Guthrie of Ray City; two nephews, Larry Guthrie and Mike Guthrie; and two nieces, Carroll Jean Lawrence and Cara Lee Staples.

    Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. Tuesday, March 21, 2006, in the Valdosta chapel of Music Funeral Services with burial following in Sunset Hill Cemetery. The family will receive friends tonight from 6 – 8 p.m. at the funeral home. Sympathy may be expressed online at http://www.musicfuneralservics.com. ? Music Funeral Services of Valdosta.

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