NEWPORT NEWS - Beryl Richard Abicht 'Pop-pop,' 86, a native of Marietta, Ohio, and longtime resident of Newport News, died Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2008.
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Mr. Abicht enlisted in the Army Air Corps when he was 18 and fought in the China-Burma-India theatre in World War II. He was one of the four remaining veterans from his unit stationed in the southwest China city of Kunming - the home base for the legendary 'Flying Tigers' and the destination for resupply missions flying the 'Hump' from India. Among other things, he participated in patrols to recover downed aircraft and pilots from the jungles of western China. He was decorated for his efforts and, he exercised his patriotism often by attending veterans and Memorial Day celebrations where he and others were recognized for their military service. Mr. Abicht worked for 35 years at NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton until he retired in 1980. Among many jobs, he assisted with construction of the Apollo spacecraft. He was a founding member of the Hilton Christian Church, where he served the church in many capacities.
Mr. Abicht served the community in many ways over his life time. He was the Scout Master of Troop #3 on the Peninsula. He was an avid rock collector and gave lectures on rocks and minerals to various community groups. He was an accomplished carver and a supporter of 'Ducks Unlimited'. He was a faithful employee of Smithfield Antiques Center and The Christmas Store in downtown Smithfield where he headed up the security division.
He is survived by his loving wife of 63 years, Helen Ruth Abicht; his son, James Abicht and daughter-in-law, Elaine Abicht, both of Smithfield; daughter, Sandra Abicht Simmermon and son-in-law, Fred Simmermon, both of Norfolk; and two grandchildren, Jessica Ann Simmermon of Norfolk and Jeffrey Lee Simmermon of New York City.
Above all else, he was a gentleman, friend, a loving father, grandfather, father-in-law and husband. The family misses him greatly and will think of him always.
A graveside service will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, Jan. 11, 2008, at St. Luke's Cemetery near Smithfield with Dr. Don Rhoton officiating. A reception / visitation will follow immediately at Smithfield Baptist Church, 100 Wainwright Drive, Smithfield.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 12, 2008, at Hilton Christian Church, 100 James River Drive, Newport News, with Dr. Woodrow Rea officiating. A reception / visitation will follow immediately at the church.
Memorial contributions may be made to the American Diabetes Association, P. O. Box 1131, Fairfax, VA 22038-1131.
Arrangements by W. J. Smith & Son Funeral Home.
Published in Daily Press on January 10, 2008