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Posted: 8/21/2017 1:49:18 PM EST
My wife's mother's husband's sister's father in law , Raymond Douglas Daniel, passed away. Here is his obituary. I didn't know him, but his story is awesome.

Raymond Douglas Daniel
Oct 1, 1921 - Aug 16, 2017

THE WORLD HAS SUFFERED THE LOSS OF A GREAT AMERICAN HERO…..OUR HERO, USAF MAJOR RAYMOND DOUGLAS DANIEL, 10-01-21 TO 8-16-17…..A CHRISTIAN, HUSBAND, FATHER, DAD, GRANDFATHER, GREAT- GRANDFATHER, PEEPAW, FRIEND, TEACHER, MENTOR AND PARTNER. 

RAYMOND DOUGLAS DANIEL WAS BORN IN WEST COLUMBIA, TEXAS IN 1921. HIS LOVE FOR AIRPLANES WAS EVIDENT SINCE EARLY CHILDHOOD, USING SCRAP WOOD TO HANDMAKE TOY PLANES WITH WIND-UP RUBBER BAND PROPELLERS. AS A BOY, HE DELIVERED TELEGRAMS FROM 6PM TO MIDNIGHT. HE WOULD WALK 2 MILES TO THE AIRPORT JUST TO BE AROUND AIRPLANES AND WAS THRILLED WHEN PILOTS LET HIM DUST OFF THE PLANES ALONG THE FLIGHTLINE. RAY ATTENDED HIGHSCHOOL AND WAS SALUTATORIAN OF HIS GRADUATING CLASS IN ABILINE, TEXAS.
RAY WAS TECHNICALLY UNDER AGE WHEN HE SIGNED UP TO SERVE IN THE AIR FORCE, JANUARY 1941, JUST AFTER THE , DECLARATION OF WAR (WWII) AND WAS A MEMBER OF THE 43D/43E FIGHTER PILOT GRADUATING CLASS. HE BEGAN FLYING THE P61 BLACK WIDOW IMMEDIATELY AS A “NIGHT FIGHTER PILOT” WITH THE 421ST SQUADRON, IN THE PACIFIC THEATER. MILITARY RECORDS SHOW, RAY WAS THE LAST SURVIVING “NIGHT FIGHTER PILOT” FROM WWII, FLYING MANY VARIOUS AIRCRAFT BUT MOSTLY THE P61 BLACK WIDOW FIGHTER BOMBER. OVER HIS LONG CAREER, HE LOGGED OVER 10,000 FLIGHT HOURS, RETIRING AFTER 26 YEARS IN THE UNITED STATES AIR FORCE.

RAY EXPERIENCED MANY NEAR DEATH EXPERIENCES AS A COMBAT PILOT. HE SURVIVED AND CAME TO LIVE IN FLORIDA AFTER THE WAR AND CONTINUED AS AN FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR, TRAINER, COMMERCIAL CORPORATE PILOT AND CROP DUSTER, JUST FOR FUN. HE WAS RECALLED AS A MILITARY INSTRUCTOR PILOT BUT ULTIMATELY RETIRED AT THE RANK OF MAJOR, AFTER A TOTAL OF 26 YEARS MILITARY SERVICE.
RAY RETIRED TO FLORIDA A SECOND TIME, CONTINUED TO FLY AS A COMMERCIAL CORPORATE PILOT RENEWING HIS COMMERCIAL LICENSE FOR THE LAST TIME IN 2010. RAY ATTENDED AND GRADUATED FLORIDA SOUTHERN COLLEGE, GRADUATING IN 1967 WITH HIS DEGREE IN INDUSTRIAL ARTS. HE THEN BEGAN HIS 15 YEAR SECOND CAREER TEACHING INDUSTRIAL ARTS AT AUBURNDALE HIGH SCHOOL, RETURNING TO UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA WHERE HE RECEIVED HIS MASTERS DEGREE WHERE HE MET AND MARRIED BETTY LYON DANIEL. IN CIVILIAN LIFE, HE TRAVELED, WAS A WOOD CARVER, A BLACKSMITH, A BUILDING CONTRACTOR, TEACHER, VOLUNTEER LIBRARIAN FOR SUN AND FUN AVATION MUSEUM. HE OBTAINED HIS BUILDING CONTRACTORS LICENSE, BECAME A RESPECTED CONTRACTOR IN LAKELAND, BUILDING MANY HOMES.

INTO THE WILD BLUE YONDER, RAY DANIEL WENT TO BE WITH THE LORD. BLESS YOU SIR AND REST YOUR WEARY FEET. WE WILL TAKE THE WATCH FROM HERE…. ‘TIL WE MEET AGAIN IN GLORY, FLY HIGH PEEPAW, THE SKY IS YOURS.
Link Posted: 8/21/2017 2:26:48 PM EST
[Last Edit: 8/21/2017 2:27:32 PM EST by DanaHillen]
A man of MANY accomplishments!!

Rest in peace,Sir.
Link Posted: 8/21/2017 3:25:49 PM EST
It's pretty cool how he became a building contractor.
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