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Thomas H. McPhatter

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McPHATTER, THOMAS H. Dr. Thomas H. McPhatter, was born in Lumberton, NC, on October 8, 1923, to the late Thomas and Elizabeth McPhatter. He was educated at Redstone Academy and Bethany Presbyterian Church in Lumberton and later attended college in Charlotte at Johnson C. Smith University. Halfway through college, he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps and served during World War II in the Pacific. He participated in the battle of Iwo Jima as a Sergeant and ammunition technician and provided the pipe used as a standard for the first flag flown on Mt. Suribachi. The second flag was in the famous Rosenthal photo. After Iwo Jima he and other Marines prepared to invade Japan, but the atomic bombs were dropped, the war ended and the invasion became an occupation. He graduated from college after war and completed Seminary School and was ordained a Presbyterian Minister. He served as Pastor of St. Paul Presbyterian Church in Kansas City, MO, for almost a decade. He entered the Navy as a Chaplain serving with Marines in Okinawa, Vietnam, San Diego-Camp Pendleton. Passed over in 1979 for promotion, he returned to civilian life and worked for the Dept. of Defense, the Presbyterian Church throughout California and the San Diego Urban League. In 1979, he was reinstated in the Navy serving in Great Lakes NTC and Millington NAS in Memphis, TN. He retired as a Navy Captain in 1983. He worked in civilian life for three more years and continued to volunteer his services in the community. Thomas H. McPhatter passed peacefully on May 1st in Chula Vista. He is survived by his wife, Suzanne; his first wife, Genevieve and their children, Thomas Hayswood, Doretha Annette, Mary Elizabeth and her husband Thomas Allston, George Howard, Joseph Demtrius and Neil Lamumba; and a host of grandchildren, great-grandchildren, numerous cousins, nieces, nephews, brothers and sisters-in-law, and stepchildren; a son, Darryl, his wife and children, and a multitude of friends from all around the country. Visitation will be Friday, May 8th, 5 - 8 p.m., at Anderson- Ragsdale Mortuary, 5050 Federal Blvd. Services on Saturday, May 9th, will begin at 1 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church, 520 Date Street (with a pre-service viewing from Noon until funeral time). Interment with full honors will take place in Lumberton, NC, later next week. In Lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Johnson C. University Thomas McPhatter Scholarship Fund, 100 Beatties Ford Rd., Charlotte, NC 28216.
Published in U-T San Diego on May 6, 2009
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