Lee A. Archer,Jr. famed WWII pilot and original Tuskegee Airmen passed away on Wednesday, January 27 at Cornell Medical Center of natural causes. There will be a Memorial Service at Riverside Church on Thursday, February 4th at 11:00 AM and an interment on Wednesday, February 10th 9 AM at Arlington National Cemetery. Born and raised in New York, Mr. Archer attended Dewitt Clinton High School before getting his degree from UCLA and NYU. Having been initially denied to enter the Army Air Corp. due to segregation, Archer was accepted into Tuskegee Institute as a Fighter Pilot in 1942 as a member of the 302nd Fighter Squadron under the 332nd Fighter Group. Generally accepted as the first black ace pilot, he was one of four men 'To Triple', when he destroyed three German Me-109's, during a single mission on October 13,1944. After the war, Mr. Archer had a distinguished career of 29 years in the Air Force with tours in Paris,France Brunswick,Maine and Panama Canal Zone. He retired from the Air Force in 1970 with numerous honors including citations from three Presidents. Lee Archer's business career was as exemplary as his Service career. After leaving the Air Force, he joined General Foods and rose to the position of Corporate Vice-President. After his retirement he was one of a group led by Reginald Lewis which bought McCall Pattern Company and initiated a successful buyout (LBO) of Beatrice Int'l Foods in 1987 which effectively made TLC Beatrice the largest minority owned firm in the United States. Among his board memberships are TLC Beatrice Genuine Leaf (Africa) and U.S.Asia Institute. *Noted by Fortune Magazine as one of five pioneers who broke corporate America's color barrier. He was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in 2008 and The Legion of Honor, Chevalier (France). In April 2009, Mr. Archer was selected to be an advisor for the upcoming George Lucas produced film, "The Red Tails". Lee A.Archer is survived by sons Lee (Janine), Raymond (Jennifer), Roy (venita); daughter Ina Diane; granddaughters Gabrielle, Ghyslanine, Emily and Alexandra. He was husband to the late Ina Burdell Archer and grandfather to the late Amanda. Family to receive friends Wednesday 6-8PM Barney T. McClanahan Funeral Home, 30 Winthrop Ave.,New Rochelle. In lieu of flowers, contributions to Amanda Rachel Archer Memorial Scholarship Fund, New Rochelle High School, 265 Clove Rd.,New Rochelle, NY 10801.
Published in the The Journal News on February 3, 2010