A “Greatest Generation Pilot” Flies On
World War II veteran, Colonel James T. McKee, of Torrance, Calif., passed away Saturday, March 3, 2012. A former resident of Picayune, Colonel McKee attended the University of Mississippi where he met his future wife, Ruby Taylor. Upon completion of his accounting degree, he entered the U.S. Air Force. In 1940, he received his wings, later earning (among many others) two Distinguished Fly Crosses; three Air Medals with three oak clusters; four Presidential Unit Citations, etc. He received his M.B.A. from Harvard University and served our country outstandingly.
Colonel McKee was preceded in death by: his daughter, Karen Elizabeth McKee.
He is survived by: his beloved wife of 68 years, Ruby Taylor; their son, Stephen McKee of Santa Clara; granddaughter, Kathy Rodriguez of Hollywood, Calif.; grandson, Glen Rodriguez of San Francisco; and great-granddaughter, Karen Margaret Rodriguez and great-grandson, Bryan David Rodriguez, both of San Francisco.
His father was the late Judge Hugh Kelsey McKee, Sr., a former Attorney-at-Law and City Clerk of Picayune. James’ mother was Cammie Ferrill McKee, a former First-Grade Teacher. His parents and their nine children resided at 802 Fifth Avenue where the Kelly Wise Memorial Gymnasium now exists.
His living siblings are: William H. McKee, Colonel, USAF Retired from Anchorage, Alaska; Edward F. McKee of N.C.; and Mary-Jane McKee, a retired U.S. Government employee of Biloxi. (Six other brothers and sisters preceded him in death.)
In 1942, he went to Basra, Iraq, where he flight-tested aircraft for Russia and helped ferry B-25 bombers to North Africa. He visited Jerusalem and Bethlehem and came upon an orphanage with food only enough for one more day, so James gave the nuns who ran the orphanage a big check; they told him, “We will pray for you for life.”
James helped the British Army chase Rommel, the “Desert Fox.” On one of his 36 missions, his plane had over 150 bullet holes with his landing gear destroyed. However, he landed his B-25 bomber successfully. As a new Major, he returned home, married Ruby, but then was assigned to the China, Burma, India staff. During this period, he flew 43 times over the “Hump” to China and then went to the 7th Bomb Group in India and flew 12 more trips.
Eventually, he returned home and then became the USAF Plant Representative, Hughes Aircraft Company, Culver, Calif., and then the USAF PR, Lockheed Missiles and Space Company where the Agena D. Space Booster was manufactured. Later, he became the Vice Commander, U.S. Air Force Contract Management.
When James retired from the Air Force, he became a Deputy Tax Assessor, Los Angeles County. He and Ruby settled into their sunny mountain home in Torrance. He was skilled in gardening and maintaining plants and fruit trees. He was a member of the Daedalians Military Pilots Organization, the Society of the Cincinnati, and the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry. Colonel McKee will be missed.
A “Greatest Generation Pilot” Flies On
Richard Arlan Smith
Richard Arlan Smith, 80, passed away December 6, 2013, at his home.
He was born on January 25, 1933, in the Byrd’s Chapel Community.
He graduated high school in 1951 from McNeill High School, McNeill, Miss.
Herberta Louise Randolph Holland
Herberta Louise Randolph Holland, 97, a recent resident of Picayune, Miss., passed away Monday, December 2, 2013 at Millbrook Gardens Assisted Living Home.
Ivan Christopher “Chris” Seal
Ivan Christopher “Chris” Seal, 38, of Bear Creek passed away Monday, December 2, 2013.
Joji Tomei, 88, of Carriere, Miss., passed away Monday, November 25, 2013.
Visitation will be held Saturday December 7, 2013 at Picayune Funeral Home beginning at 10:30 a.m. until 12 noon with a short memorial service directly after.
Rebbie F. Smith
Funeral Services for Rebbie F. Smith, 87, of Picayune, Miss., who passed away Monday, December 2, 2013, will be held Wednesday, December 4, 2013, at 1 p.m. at Pine Grove Baptist Church.
Darrell Luther Mitchell
Graveside services for Darrell Luther Mitchell who passed away December 2, 2013 at 89 years old, born January 27, 1924, will be held Thursday, December 5, 2013, at New Palestine Cemetery in Picayune, Miss., at 2 pm for family and friends.
Donald Ray Combs
“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes…” — Revelation 21:4
Donald Ray Combs, 70, of Edmonton, Ky., passed away Friday, November 29, 2013, at the NHC Healthcare Facility in Glasgow. Born in Glasgow, he was a son of the late Rex and Laverne Greer Combs. Donald Ray was employed in construction and building maintenance and he was a veteran serving in the U.S. Army.
Challen Reece O’Meara
Funeral Services for Challen Reece O’Meara , 52, of Picayune, Miss., who passed away Saturday, November 30, 2013, will be held Thursday, December 5, 2013, at 1 p.m. at McDonald Funeral Home Chapel.
Memorial Services for Catherine McVaugh, 88, of Picayune, Miss., who passed away Sunday, December 1, 2013, will be held Friday, December 6, 2013, at 2 p.m. at McDonald Funeral Home Chapel.
Visitation will be Friday, December 6, 2013 from 1-2 p.m. at McDonald Funeral Home Chapel.
Sheryl Faye Ledet
Memorial Services for Sheryl Faye Ledet, 65, of Carriere, Miss., who passed away Saturday, November 30, 2013, will be held Wednesday, December 4, 2013, at 12 p.m. at McDonald Funeral Home Chapel.
Visitation will be Wednesday, December 4, 2013 from 11 a.m. -12 p.m. at McDonald Funeral Home Chapel.
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