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Royal Matthew Nyby

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Royal Matthew Nyby Obituary

Royal Matthew Nyby, 96, passed away June 30, 2016. Born in Humboldt, Iowa to Danish immigrant parents, Roy excelled in both football and basketball, earning all-state honors and a college athletic scholarship. Leaving college to join the Army Air Corps, Roy became a P38 fighter pilot who flew 50 missions in WWII, escorting bombers into Germany from an air field established in the Foggia Plain, Italy. Roy was in the First Fighter Group, also known as Eddie Rickenbacker's Group, where his squadron was the first to encounter a German jet. Roy received a battlefield promotion before returning stateside, where he was stationed at Hamilton Field in the North San Francisco Bay area. Joining the Occupation Forces in Europe in 1946, Roy and his young family lived in Germany, Texas, Arizona, Mississippi, and Saudi Arabia, until his retirement in 1963 from the Air Force as a Lt. Colonel. Upon retiring, Roy and the family moved to California, returning to Santa Rosa where he had trained as a pilot. Mesmerizing his family with stories of his flight experiences – from flying under the Golden Gate Bridge as a cadet, to dodging enemy flak and limping back to base after losing an engine over Germany, Roy's post military life included 12 years with the Santa Rosa Post Office, much fishing (tying flies), hunting (trained a hunting dog) and playing golf (5-handicap with two Holes-in-One). Married to his high school sweetheart, Irma Beals, for 74 years, they traveled the world while raising 4 children. After Irma retired as an educator, they moved from Santa Rosa to Chehalis, Washington but returned to California after Saint Helen's eruption ruined Roy's favorite fishing river. Spending a year in Redding where their son David lived, Roy and Irma then moved into the family built cabin along the Mattole River in Humboldt County. Age related issues forced them to leave this place Roy called Paradise and they were able to move next door to their youngest daughter, Alicia, in Marysville, CA. Roy and Irma explored the countryside around Marysville, frequenting Beale AFB to shop and watch the planes take off and land. They joked that together they made one whole person as Roy had difficulty walking and Irma had difficulty seeing. Roy gave up driving at age 90, but the P38 joystick skills transferred nicely to his electric wheelchair, which he used to navigate the Summerfield Senior Living Home in Yuba City, where he lived for his last 3 months.

Predeceased by Irma (2014) and their youngest son, David (1988), Royal is survived by his son John (Debra), of Bethlehem, PA, Jane (Tom) Heuser, of Portola, CA, daughter-in law Denise Nyby, of Ettersburg, CA, Alicia (Gary) Hrico, of Marysville CA, 8 grandchildren, and 5 great-grandchildren.

Private burial was at the Gridley-Briggs Cemetery on July 1. A Celebration of Life with Military Honors is planned for Sunday, August 14, 2016 at 10:30 a.m. at the Gridley-Biggs Cemetery.

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Published in Appeal Democrat on Aug. 7, 2016
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