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Thomas William CMSGT USAF (Ret) PEEL

Obituary
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In Loving Memory of PEEL, Thomas William CMSGT USAF (Ret.) Who passed away peacefully at the age of 91 on May 10, 2014 in Spokane after a long and well lived life. Tom Peel was born in 1922 in County Durham, England. When he was seven, Tom emigrated to the U.S. with his parents George and Minnie, settling on Chicago's South Side just in time for the Great Depression. He grew up there, attended school and graduated from Tilden Tech in 1940. In 1942, Tom was drafted into the Army Air Corps, and served as a radio operator on B-29's flying 17 missions in the Pacific Campaign, India and China. On May 26, 1945 his airplane was shot down over Tokyo. Tom bailed out, was captured by the Japanese and interned as a POW for the last months of WWII. He was liberated by US forces following the Japanese surrender, and returned to the U.S. to recuperate from his ordeal. In 1947 he married Margaret Ann (Peggy ) Pauling, who he had known since high school. They raised two sons, Jeffrey and Kevin, and enjoyed 58 years of happiness together until Peggy's death in 2005. Tom had rejoined the Air Force in 1946, and the family was stationed over the years at air bases in Spokane, Washington, Greenham Common England, Glasgow Montana, Bitburg Germany and Travis California. Tom retired in 1971, having achieved the Air Force's highest enlisted rank of Chief Master Sergeant. During his military career he received numerous service awards including the Purple Heart, Distinguished Flying Cross, and Air Medal. Upon retiring, the Peel family returned to live in Spokane, a city they came to love during two tours of duty at Fairchild AFB. Tom enrolled in the Business School at Gonzaga University, and achieved his Bachelor's Degree in Finance and Marketing in 1976. He put this education to good use, building an investment portfolio that comfortably supported his family after his retirement. He and Peggy also travelled extensively, often to Elderhostels with friends, continuing their lifelong interest in learning about new places and cultures. Tom played minor league baseball in his early years, and remained a long suffering Chicago Cubs fan until the end. Tom Peel is survived by his son Jeffrey and his wife Cathy , son Kevin and his wife Jan, grandchildren Jesse, Andrew and Edward, great grandchild Kimber, nephew Ned Pauling and his wife Denise and their sons Patrick, Pete and Ryan, niece Linda Lewis and her husband Bone Holmes, and nephew Curtis Pauling and his wife Karen and their sons Jon, Matt and Brian. Special thanks for great care in Tom's last few years goes to Dr. Alan Prentiss of the VA in Spokane, and particularly to Denise Pauling for all of her love and commitment. The family's gratitude to Denise cannot be expressed in words. The family will hold a Celebration of Life at a later date. Those wishing to honor Tom Peel's memory may make a donation in his name to the Inland Northwest Honor Flight to support sending WWII veterans to Washington D.C. to visit the veteran's memorials there. Donations can be sent to 608 W 2nd, Suite 309, Spokane WA 99201-4430 or online at www.inwhonorflight.org

Published in Spokesman-Review on May 18, 2014
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