|Birth: ||Aug. 15, 1921|
San Benito County
|Death: ||May 15, 2012|
Lieutenant Colonel Donald S. "Bush" Bryan, United States Air Force (ret.), 90, of Adel, died Tuesday May 15, 2012 at Memorial Convalescent Center in Adel.
Lt. Col. Bryan was born August 15, 1921 in Hollister, California to the late Ellis E. and Ethel Birdsall Bryan. He joined the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1943 as a fighter pilot and flew combat missions during World War II with the 328th Fighter Squadron of the 352nd Fighter Group which was part of the Eighth Army Air Force, or "Mighty Eighth" as it is better known. It was with this squadron that he flew 138 combat missions, became credited with officially shooting down 13.3 enemy aircraft, and attained the recognition of being a "Double Ace" for his combat prowess in the planes which he piloted. The first plane he flew in combat was a P-47D-2, which was named "Little One" for his girlfriend at the time, Frances Norman. After marrying Frances, he flew a P-51 Mustang named "Little One III" ( a replica of which stands on display at the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum), which he used to take down five enemy aircraft in one dogfight.
Lt. Col. Bryan served 23 years with the Air Force, receiving the Distinguished Service Cross, Distinguished Flying Cross with two oak leaf clusters, and the Air Medal with 14 oak leaf clusters. During his combat missions he never lost a wingman and even led the search to find a fellow pilot in the freezing waters of the North Sea, which proved to be successful and the pilot was safely rescued.
He was an avid hunter and trout fisherman, and a Boy Scout leader in the 1960's. After retirement from the Air Force, he was employed by O'Brien and Geer (an engineering firm in Syracuse, NY) where he worked on reservoir and water link projects. This job led him to take up SCUBA diving so that he could better perform his work duties. In 1981, he and Frances moved to Adel where he designed and built their home. While in Adel he has been a volunteer with the American Red Cross Blood Bank and also a Red Coat with Memorial Hospital of Adel. He was a member of Christ Episcopal Church in Valdosta and a member of The Order of Daedalians, which is an organization for military pilots. He will be remembered for distinguished military career, his quick wit, funny jokes, a "tell it like it is" attitude, and his constant endeavor to help his fellow man.
Lt. Col. Bryan is survived by his four sons and daughters-in-law, Donald C. Bryan of Euless, TX, Mackay L. and Jan Bryan of Rutherfordton, N.C., John B. and Chris Bryan of Huntington, VT, and Kevin N. and Rosa Bryan of Naples, FL; eleven grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren; and one brother and sister-in-law, Bowden and Jean Bryan of Oregon. He was preceded in death by his loving wife, Frances Bryan; five brothers, Ralph Mackay, Loren, Rex and Monte Bryan; and a sister, Mona Coffman.
A memorial service for Lt. Col. Bryan will be held Saturday, May 26, 2012 at 2:00 pm at Christ Episcopal Church in Valdosta with Rev. Peter Ingeman officiating. Entombment will follow at the columbarium in the garden of the church. The family will receive friends Friday evening, May 25, 2012 from 7-9 pm at Boone Funeral Home, 1804 S. Hutchinson Ave. (U.S. Hwy 41 South) in Adel.
Christ Episcopal Church Urn Garden
Created by: Darryl & Debra Vickers
Record added: May 20, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 90419188