Charles Frederick Fritz Caskey, 94, of Daytona Beach, passed away June 8, 2013. Fritz was born February 21, 1919 in Martinsburg, West Virginia. As a teenager Fritz developed fascinations for music and flight. He learned to play the saxophone and at age 16 he was playing with Bob Riley's Dance Band in venues up and down the east coast, including New York's Waldorf Astoria Hotel. His given name was Charles Frederick Caskey. After graduation from high school Fritz began classes at nearby Shepherd College which offered flight training. He obtained his pilot's license, paying for air time by working at the air field and playing in the dance band. In 1942, as World War II intensified, he was inducted into the Army Air Corps and was soon piloting B-25s over North Africa. On one mission his plane was shot down over Africa. He and his crew were rounded up by the local people, placed on donkeys and taken to an Arab village. It was only after their captors presented them with a "feast" did they know they were all on the same side. After 50 bombing missions Fritz returned to the United States where he was assigned to the Ferry Command, moving airplanes around the country. In 1944 he married the love of his life, Doris Louise Wright; they had met at Martinsburg High School. Transferred to Dayton, Ohio (where son Rick was born) Fritz served as a test pilot. As new tensions developed in Europe Fritz flew a C-54 from Tinker Depot, Oklahoma to "Y-80" (Wiesbaden, Germany). As part of the Berlin Airlift, he flew 103 missions in C-54's into an often fog-shrouded Berlin. The payloads were mostly flour or coal, with the notable exception of one planeload of wine, said to be for the French aircraft-loaders. After a brief training stint in West Palm Beach (where daughter Marilyn was born) the family was transferred to Hill Air Force Base, Utah. After 43 missions in the C-124 Globemaster to 51 countries and at the position of Deputy Commander of the squadron, he retired in 1963, culminating 22 years of service in the Air Force with the rank of Lieutenant/Colonel. During his career he piloted over 10,000 hours and 15 different planes. His piloting career culminated with a flight around the world in a C-124. Taking advantage of the GI Bill, Fritz completed his PhD in 1970. He moved to Daytona Beach where he taught Educational Psychology at Bethune-Cookman College, becoming Professor of Psychology in 1980. Appointed Associate Vice-President for Academic Affairs in 1993 Fritz retired in 2000 after 27 years of service. He was subsequently awarded Professor Emeritus by the College. Fritz was active in many aspects of community life in Daytona. He served on the Symphony Society, including a stint as president. He was active in the Kiwanis Club, being named Kiwanian of the year in 1994-95. He served as an officer on the board of his condominium association for over a dozen years. In any endeavor Fritz was admired for being thoughtful, courteous, and respectful of others and will be missed by all who knew him.
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Published in Daytona Beach News-Journal on June 14, 2013
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