World War II veteran, pilot Jack Omohundro dies
CROWLEY - World War II Army Air Corps veteran and recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross, Jack Harris Omohundro passed away peacefully at his residence on Friday, October 8, 2010, in Crowley, Louisiana. He was 89 years old.
Jack H. Omohundro was born September 28, 1921, in Atlanta, Georgia. He was the only child of Orville Gleaves “Jack” and Sadie Omohundro. He moved to Crowley with his parents in 1922. He graduated salutatorian from Crowley High in 1938, attended SLI, now known as the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps in 1940. In 1942, he was assigned to the 351st Bomb Group of the 8th Air Force in Polebrook, England, to begin the U.S. air attack on the Nazis. Captain Omohundro successfully piloted a B-17, affectionately named by him, “Belle of the Bayous,” for 25 combat missions over Europe, mainly France and Germany. After returning to the States as a Major, he was assigned as a training officer for returning combat pilots in Galveston, Texas. During this time, he was recruited by Pan American Airways, and in 1945, he was released from active duty with the following citations: the Distinguished Flying Cross, four Air Medals, the American Defense Medal, the American Campaign Medal, the European-African Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, and the World War II Medal. He then began his career with Pan Am flying the Boeing 314 boat, also known as a Clipper Ship or Great Flying Boat. During his 34 years with Pan Am, Captain Omohundro flew almost every aircraft in the fleet, concluding with the Boeing 747.
For a young boy with visions of flying, Jack’s dreams led him into World War II and then brought him into the world of commercial aviation history with Pan American Airways. He had the good luck and fortune, or as he always said, “the grace of God,” to have a dream that eventually brought him all over the world. He was a devoted husband and father, and his life was one of bravery, honor, and humility.
Mr. Omohundro was an active member of the First United Methodist Church, where he served on numerous committees. He was active in the Rotary Club, the Retired Pan American Pilots Association, the 351st Bomb Group of the 8th Air Force, the 32nd Mason of Crowley Lodge 243, American Legion Post 15, VFW Post 6720 ROA, the Military Officers Association of America, Louisiana Honor Air, and the Texas Jack Association. He was also a philanthropist, contributing to WWII memorial foundations and various civic and church organizations.
Jack H. Omohundro will be sadly missed by his sons, Jack H. Omohundro, Jr., and wife Judy of Las Vegas, NV, and Richard L. Omohundro and wife Sheryll of Granby, CT; stepdaughters Edna W. delaHoussaye and son-in-law Marque delaHoussaye of Crowley, and Margaret Sauer and son-in-law Laurence Sauer of Lafayette; and stepson Wayne E. Williams of Crowley. He is also survived by his grandchildren, Jack Michael Omohundro, Mary Jane Omohundro, Laura Martien, Genevieve delaHoussaye, Gus delaHoussaye, Robert Sauer, and great-grandchildren, Emily Jane Martien and Isabella Martien.
He joins in death his beloved wife of 43 years, Jane Thomson Omohundro, his sons, Robert Lawrence “Larry” Omohundro and John Howard “Jay” Omohundro, and his parents Orville Gleaves “Jack” and Sadie Harris Omohundro.
Pallbearers will be Jack Michael Omohundro, Larry Sauer, Robert Sauer, Marque delaHoussaye, Gus delaHoussaye, and Craig Thomson. Honorary pallbearers will be “Bo” McNeely, Donald Jones, Ralph Cowen, Dr. Cason delaHoussaye, Byron Core, and Kenneth Privat.
At the request of the family, visiting hours will be held at Geesey-Ferguson Funeral Home in Crowley, on Monday, October 11, 2010, from 3:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Funeral services will be held Tuesday, October 12, 2010, at 2:00 pm at the First United Methodist Church in Crowley. In lieu of flowers, any donations offered in his memory may be made to the First United Methodist Church of Crowley or the charity of your choice.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Geesey-Ferguson Funeral Home, 301 N. Avenue F, Crowley, Louisiana.