Ernest Lee Verbeck
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Ernest Lee Verbeck, Lt. Col., U.S. Air Force, Ret., went home to be with his Lord on Saturday, May 17, 2014. He was born on September 15, 1920 in Flint, MI.
Lee joined the U.S. Air Force in 1939. Teaching mechanics at Chanute AFB and Shepard AFB. He received flight training at Lubbock, TX where he received his flight wings. He was sent to MacDill AFB, FL as maintenance officer, flying B26's. He was then sent to Mountain Home, ID, flying B24's. His next assignment was to San Grasso, Italy during WWII, flying combat missions B24's. His plane was shot down while bombing the Brenner Pass. The crew were picked up by the Italians and Germans. They were taken prisoners to Stalag I Barth, Germany and were released in 1945 by the Russians. His first assignment was in the Azores, flying C54's and B17's. His next assignment was at Westover AFB, MA, as a maintenance officer, flying C54's, C121's and C97's. Then he was sent to fly C47's in the Korean War.
He got engaged to his wife, Rena and they were married in 1953. He was then assigned to Robins AFB, GA as a flight test pilot, flying F86's, F100's, F84's and B57's. He was also flying Generals to Europe and the Far East. His next assignment was in the Philippines as an adviser to the Philippine Air Force, called the Flying Ambassadors. After that, he was assigned to Luke AFB, AZ as a squadron commander, flying C47's, then to Forbes AFB, KS as a squadron commander. He retired in 1966.
Lee led an active life after retirement. He worked for Bendix and Boeing in quality control. He was the President of Royal Oak Civic Association in 1972. He was the Treasurer of the Bassmaster Titusville Club and served on the City of Titusville Zoning Board. He also volunteered at Escort Service for the Handicapped.
He is survived his devoted son, John William; his grandson, J.T., his pride and joy; his brother, Robert Verbeck of Flint, MI; his many loving and caring nieces and nephews; and countless friends. He is preceded in death by his loving wife, Rena.
His first love was his family, but his life was flying and serving his country.
Viewing hours will be at St. Teresa Catholic Church, 203 Ojibway Ave, Titusville on Friday, May 30, 2014 from 9:45 to 11:00 a.m. with his Funeral Mass immediately following. Burial will be at Arlington National Cemetery at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to St. Teresa School or to a
Arrangements entrusted to Ammen Family Cremation and Funeral Care, Titusville, 264-6131. Share memories and sign the family guestbook at www.afcfcare.com.
Ammen Family Cremation & Funeral Care
4001 S Hopkins Ave
Titusville, FL 32780
Published in FLORIDA TODAY on May 25, 2014