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Lt. Col. Jeff Johnston Piercy, USAF, (Ret.)

April 25, 1924 November 15, 2019
Lt. Col. Jeff Johnston Piercy, USAF, (Ret.)
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Obituary for Lt. Col. Jeff Johnston Piercy, USAF, (Ret.)

Lt. Col. Jeff Johnston Piercy, USAF, (Ret.), aged 95 ½ years, of Carthage MO, entered into peaceful rest on Friday, November 15, 2019 at his Missouri Century Farm with his daughters by his side. He was born on April 25, 1924 on the same farm in rural Carthage MO to Trenton Otterbine Piercy and Jessie Webb Johnston Piercy. He graduated from Carthage High School in 1942. He was sworn in as an enlisted student at U.S. Army College Training Academy, College of Idaho, Caldwell ID on February 28, 1943. In July of 1944 he was selected as an Aviation Cadet US Army (Air Corps). While in Idaho he met the love of his life Leatha Annabelle Feeler. On April 15, 1944 he completed Army Air Force Pilot School at Douglas Army Air Field, Douglas AZ and was sworn in as a Second Lieutenant. Jeff married Leatha in Carthage MO in April 23, 1944. They enjoyed over 62 years together traveling the USA and the world.

After aircrew training in B-24 Liberator bombers, he flew 26 missions (178 combat hours), including daylight bombing of Germany, as a 19-year-old aircraft commander during WW II out of the 567th Squadron, 389th Bomb Group, Hethel, England. During his over 30-year military career he had many assignments, most notable: C-45 & C-47 pilot, Hq. 20th Weather Squadron Nagoya, Japan during the occupation after WW II; C-54 aircraft commander during the Korean War airlift from USA to Japan, 62nd Troop Carrier Group, McChord Air Force Base and Larson Air Force Base, Washington; T-33 pilot and Asst. Adjutant, Tactical Strike Force, Hq. 12th Air Force during the Formosa Crisis; C-118 & U-3 pilot and Executive officer to the Commander, Space Systems Division, Los Angeles Air Force Station CA, which coordinated the early space program at Cape Canaveral FL; and C-7A Caribou aircraft commander and Squadron Commander, 458th Tactical Airlift Sq., Cam Rahn Air Base, Vietnam.

He wrote in his own words for the Airmen Heritage Archives of the Air Force Memorial in 2010:

“I wanted to fly ever since I saw my first airplane. At 18 I was sworn in as an enlisted student in the US Army and was directed to the US Army College Training Detachment at the University of Idaho. I met my future beautiful wife, Leatha, during that auspicious first assignment! Selected to be an Aviation Cadet in the Air Corps I completed pilot training at Douglas Army Air Field, Arizona. I loved being a pilot and flew 11 different operational aircraft over the years. I flew B-24 Liberators in WW II, C-54 Skymasters in the Korean War, and C-5A Caribous in Vietnam. I served in bomb groups; troop carrier units; Air Weather Service; 18th, 12th and 3rd Air Forces; Space Systems Division; and USAF Security Service. The Air Force enriched my life and my family’s life with worldwide travel experiences and from living in many US states, Japan and England. Leatha, my wife, made this nomadic life possible by creating and keeping our home regardless of the situation while raising our two daughters -- she made the good times outstanding and the bad times bearable. I am grateful to have been able to serve my country in the USAF and also to see that rub off on my daughters, Ann Lisa is a retired USAF Major and Jeanne is a retired USCG Chief Petty Officer. At this time in my life, I can look back over the 30 years and say being in the Air Force was a truly wonderful and rewarding profession.”

He was a USAF command pilot with 6,474 flying hours and a commercial pilot license: single and multi-engine land. He completed a BA in Business Administration in 1961 through the Air Force Institute of Technology Civilian Institutions Program at University of Colorado, Boulder CO. He was a member of honorary management fraternities: Sigma Iota Epsilon and Beta Gamma Sigma. In 1975 he completed a MA in Environmental Management, University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio TX. He was inducted into the Order of Daedalians, Stinson Chapter, San Antonio TX in 1985. The Daedalians are a fraternity of commissioned military aviatoirs from all services. It is named after the legendary figure Daedalus who was the first person to accomplish heavier-than-air flight.

From 1975-2007 he first was a commercial, residential and investment realtor with Rosow and Kline Realtors, Inc. in San Antonio TX and later owner and broker of Piercy Enterprises which specialized in the same areas. He served on the Board of Directors, Security Services Federal Credit Union which had over 120,000 members and $260,000.000.00 in assets at that time. He was President, 1st Vice President, and chairman of various committees from 1972-1989. He was an election worker and presiding judge at the Central Counting Station, Bexar County TX 1989-1999. He enjoyed working on his 1931 Model A Ford and driving it in the Maple Leaf Parade in Carthage. He enjoyed being a gentleman farmer when he returned to Carthage in late 2007. He liked to work on his farm and tinker with many projects. He was proud of owning his family’s farm and being a good steward of the land and continuing conservation efforts. He was a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Carthage where he was a deacon for several years and he also delivered meals “on wheels” as he termed them for as long as he could.

He was preceded in death by his parents, wife Leatha Annabelle, brother Donald Randolph Piercy and sisters Ella Louise Piercy LeDoux and Virginia Lee Piercy McCoy

He is survived by daughter, Ann Lisa Piercy, Major, USAF, (Ret.) and husband Steven Pont, Captain, USAF, (Ret. Reserve) of Yellow Springs, Ohio; daughter, Jeanne Louise Piercy Perez, Chief, USCG, (Ret.) and husband Mark Jon Perez, Chief, USCG, (Ret.) of Bakersfield CA; grandsons Robert Thomas Reed of Fort Riley KS and Michael Lawrence Reed of Bakersfield CA; sister-in-law Bonnie Feeler Stein of Nampa ID; nephews Jeffrey Randolph Piercy of Fort Garland CO, Alan Lestor LeDoux of Holton KS, and Jon Stein of Idaho and nieces Linda Rene Piercy Frashier of Lake Lotawana MO, Willa Dean Piercy of Kearney MO and Karen Stein Ramsey of Idaho and numerous great nephews and nieces.

Visitation will be held at Knell Mortuary, Carthage MO on Sunday November 24, 2019 at 11:45 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. On April 25, 2020 at 11:00 a.m. a funeral and celebration of life will be held at the First Presbyterian Church, Carthage MO officiated by Rev. Gregory W. Essleman. Inurnment with full military honors will be at the Hackney Cemetery, Carthage MO. A repass will be held at the Piercy Family Farm following the inurnment.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations are suggested to a 10-year scholarship fund to be set up in his name through the Daedalian Foundation. The foundation provides scholarships to young men and women who are striving to become military aviators. Donations can be made in care of the Knell Mortuary, 308 West Chestnut Street, Carthage MO 64836, or directly to his scholarship through The Order of Daedalians. They will provide a full color photo and biography web page & web link for donations in the next few weeks.

The Piercy family requests all donations to be sent in April 2020, if possible, and gratefully acknowledges all prayers, condolences and memorial donations.

Online condolences may be expressed through www.knellmortuary.com. Arrangements are under the direction and personal care of Knell Mortuary.


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Upcoming Events

Memorial Service

Saturday

25

Apr

11:00 AM 4/25/2020 11:00:00 AM
First Presbyterian Church

115 W. Chesnut St.
Carthage, MO 64836

First Presbyterian Church
115 W. Chesnut St. Carthage 64836 MO
United States

Previous Events

Visitation

Sunday

24

Nov

11:45 AM 11/24/2019 11:45:00 AM - 1:00 PM 11/24/2019 1:00:00 PM
Knell Mortuary

308 W. Chestnut
Carthage, MO 64836

Knell Mortuary
308 W. Chestnut Carthage 64836 MO
United States

Cemetery Details

Location

Hackney Cemetery Final Resting Place

9930 Osage Road
Carthage, MO 64836

9930 Osage Road Carthage 64836 MO
United States

Memorial Contribution

Knell Mortuary

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations are suggested to a 10-year scholarship fund to be set up in his name through the Daedalian Foundation. The foundation provides scholarships to young men and women who are striving to become military aviators. Donations can be made in care of the Knell Mortuary, 308 West Chestnut Street, Carthage MO 64836, or directly to his scholarship through The Order of Daedalians. They will provide a full color photo and biography web page & web link for donations in the next few weeks. The Piercy family requests all donations to be sent in April 2020, if possible, and gratefully acknowledges all prayers, condolences and memorial donations.
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