Carl J. Fyler, a former prisoner of war and a longtime Topeka dentist, died on Veterans Day. He died in the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month of the year. He spent more than 500 days in a German Nazi POW camp. He was a successful dentist for more than 40 years in Topeka. Carl was 88 years old. Funeral services will be 3 p.m., Monday, at Penwell-Gabel Mid-Town Chapel, 1321 SW 10th, Topeka. Dr. Fyler will lie in state after Noon on Monday until the service hour. Burial with military honors will be 12:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Penwell-Gabel Cemetery, Hutchinson. Major Fyler was captured by the Germans in November 1943 when the B-17 bomber he was piloting was shot down over Europe. It was his 25th mission as a pilot in the 8th Air Force. He described his war memories in his 144-page book, "Staying Alive." He was a supporter of the Combat Air Museum in Topeka. He also fought for veterans to receive military medals and benefits they were entitled to for their service to our country. He even went to Congress to get the job done. But one mission was left undone. Even in his last days alive, Major Fyler said he wanted S/Sgt. Joseph Sawicki to receive the Medal of Honor for his bravery and heroism in saving two crew members before their plane went down. Family members, including Heidi Webb, said they would continue to lobby on behalf of Fylers crewmate, Sawicki. On Aug. 19, 2009, Fyler gave his final public appearance, providing a lecture about his war experiences at McCrite Plaza. He started his talk with the following words, War is hell. Despite declining health, he stood at a lectern, gave his speech and handed out photos of German POW war camps. Staff at McCrite placed his military jacket next to his bed on Veterans Day. His wife, Marguerite, remained by his side to the very end. His last words to her were, "Goodnight, I love you. I will see you soon." Fyler was born on May 14, 1921, in Spearville, Kan. After WWII, Carl Fyler earned his dentistry degree from the UMKC Dental School. He was a member of Potwin Presbyterian Church, Topeka. Dr. Fyler is survived by his wife of 63 years, Marguerite, his brother-in-law Jack D. Webb, his sister-in-law Lois Hubbard, nieces Valerie Hubbard, Amelia Younts and Rita Ellis; and nephews Gary Burris, MJ Burris, David Webb, Dan Webb, and Kirby Webb. He was preceded in death by his parents, John and Helen Fyler and his sister, Gloria Fyler Webb. Memorial contributions may be made to the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum, P.O. Box 1992 Savannah, GA 31402. To leave a message for the family online, please visit www.PenwellGabelTopeka.com. Carl J. Fyler
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Published in Topeka Capital-Journal from Nov. 15 to Nov. 20, 2009