Frank Harold Avry, 95, went to be with our Lord, Friday Oct. 26, 2012, at Royal Plaza Care Center, Lewiston, Idaho. Frank was born at Robertsdale Pa., on 3 Jul 1917, to Gabriel Louis Avry and Marie Louise, nee LeGal, Avry.
The family moved to Youngtown Ohio in 1927 where he went to grade and high school. He was very active in sports.
Frank was preceded in death by his mother and father; and five brothers, Ephriam, Gabriel, Paul, Joseph, and twin brother, John; and one sister, Cenderine.
He married Ruth Cossey in June 1943. Ruth died in June 2002.
Surviving are his two children, Frank Clyde Avry (Norma) of Lebanon, Ill., and Paula Ketcher (John) of Pryor, Okla.; four grandchildren, Christine Schmidt of Belleville, Ill., Sarah Juelfs of Columbia, Ill., James K. Floyd of San Antonio, Texas and Bogard Floyd of Gloucester, Va.; five step-grandchildren, Dennis Wilburn of Belleville, Ill., Terry Wilburn of Belleville, Ill., Julia Whitney of Lebanon, Ill., Jon W. Ketcher of Pryor Creek, Okla., and Sam F. Ketcher of Pryor Creek, Okla.; eight great-grandchildren, Erica, Zachary, Lindsey, Avery Marie, August, Greyson, Keller and London Avry; 12 step great-grandchildren; and three step great-great-grandchildren.
In Oct. 2003 he married Mildred West of Youngstown, Ohio and she died March 17 2006. He is survived by three step children, Richard West, Dennis West, Carol Francesskelli, all of Youngstown, Ohio; five step grandchildren; and eight great step grandchildren.
On Nov. 25, 2006, he married Esther Jenner of Kamiah, Idaho. He is survived by Esther and three step children, Pamela Mettler of Palm Beach, Fla., Bruce Jenner of Hidden Hills, Calif., and Lisa Jenner of Kamiah, Idaho; in addition to 10 step grandchildren and two step great-grandchildren.
He was drafted into the Army in November 1941 and was at Jefferson Barracks St louis Mo., on Dec. 7, 1941. He attended aircraft maintenance school and Las Vegas gunnery school. After a time at Vegas and Kingman Arizona he was assigned to Piute Texas as a member of a B 17 bomber crew as crew chief and top turret gunner.
He continued training in Dyersburg Tenn., and Langley Field, Va. In January 1944, he flew to Belfast, Ireland with his crew in a B17. He was then assigned to the 351 Bomb Group, 511th Bomb Squadron. He flew 27 missions over Germany and the plane was shot down by enemy fighters on May 28, 1944, and he became a prisoner of war in Germany for 11 months.
After a time in an interrogation camp he was sent to the German prisoner of war camp Stalag Luft IV. After spending that summer and early winter at that camp and with the Russians moving to the West, he was moved on Feb. 2, 1945 by train to Stalag Luft III (Lang Wasser, Germany) camp No. 5 near Nurenburg, Germany. As the American Army began to advance into Southern Germany he was to be moved again to another prisoner camp in Moosburg, Germany. During a road march to this camp he escaped and evaded captivity for almost two weeks until he was liberated by American Forces.
Frank was awarded the Air Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Purple Heart and the POW medal. He retired after serving 30 years in the U.S. Air Force as Chief Master Sergeant. He was a civilian manager at the Visiting Great Quarters at Scott Air Force Base for many years. He was the head groundskeeper at Lebanon Golf Course for many years. Frank was a Rotarian for 34 years. He traveled to Belize several times and brought back several children to be treated at Shriners Hospital, on behalf of the Rotary. He was postmaster and secretary and long-time active member of the Lebanon Masonic Lodge. He was a long-time active member of First United Methodist Church in Lebanon, Ill., and Lewiston, Idaho.
Memorials may be made to Shriners Hospital.
Visitation: Friends may call from 4 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012, and from 10 to 11 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012, at First United Methodist Church in Lebanon, Ill. A Masonic service will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the church.
Funeral: Services will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012, at First United Methodist Church. Burial with full military honors will be thereafter in Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St. Louis, Mo.
A Christian memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 29, 2012, at First United Methodist Church in Lewiston, Idaho.
MEYER FUNERAL HOME, Lebanon, Ill.
Published in Belleville News-Democrat on October 30, 2012
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