SPRAWLS, PHILIP C. LT. COL., USAF, (RET.), 98, passed away on February 16, 2014, surrounded by his adoring family.
He was born and raised on a farm in Aiken County, SC, graduated from Clemson University in 1938 and entered the United States Army Air Corps in 1940. He was a survivor of the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. In 1942, he was the first American combat casualty of the Solomon Islands Campaign. After recovering from his injuries, he flew over twenty five combat missions and was awarded the Purple Heart, Distinguished Flying Cross (which was presented to him by Fleet Admiral William F. Halsey), Air Medal and Navy Commendation. In his long and distinguished career, he became a Command Pilot with over twenty years' service and over 2,000 hours of flight. In 1946, he married Helen M. Pyle of Rapid City, South Dakota, his devoted wife of 67 years. In 1959, he became commander of the Air Force ROTC detachment at the University of Louisville. He and his family adopted Louisville, KY as their home town and the University of Louisville as their extended family. Col. Sprawls was Placement Director at the University of Louisville for fifteen years after a twenty six year career in the Air Force. He was a Meals on Wheels volunteer for over 35 years. After retiring from U of L, he was a Crisis and Information Center volunteer for 10 years. Col. and Mrs. Sprawls were long time patrons and supporters of the local performing arts.
Col. Sprawls is survived by his wife, Helen, four children: Dr. R. Duff (Kemberly), Barbara (Hays Wolff), David (Rosie) and Robert (Dr. Sheryl Schneider) and six grandchildren: Skye, Orion, Philip, Emily, Sydney and Sam. Visitation, memorial and wake will be in the Oak Room at Treyton Oak Towers, 211 W. Oak St., on Saturday, March 8, 2014 at 5 p.m. In accordance with his wishes, his body was donated to the University of Louisville School of Medicine.
Expressions of sympathy can be made to the University of Louisville or the Greater Louisville Fund for the Arts.
Published in The Courier-Journal from Feb. 21 to Feb. 23, 2014