NEWMAN, PHILLIP O.
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Col. Phillip O. Newman, a U.S. Army Air Corps pilot who flew a B-17 in more than fifty missions during World War II, died Saturday, Jan. 6, in Winston-Salem, N.C. He was 89 years old.
Col. Newman, who was born March 27, 1923, in Greensboro, N.C., flew most of his missions out of a base in Foggia, Italy, as the push against Germany intensified in the last years of the war. His unit was the 15th Air Force, 99th Bomb Group, 347 Bomb Squadron.
After the war, he went to work for Western Auto Supply Co., rising to wholesale sales manager. He then created another career as owner of Cascade Communications Inc., a distributor of electronic equipment. He remained in the Air Force Reserve until 1955. He continued visiting high schools in North Carolina and Florida, where he described the war, but lamented the lack of knowledge American youngsters have of World War II history.
He was married for 59 years to Blanche Triska Newman, who died in 2003. Their son, Charles Timothy, died of complications resulting from multiple sclerosis in 2008. In 2008, he married Aurelia "Chick" Wallace, whom he had known since childhood. She died in 2010.
Col. Newman's later years were filled with interviewing World War II veterans for oral history projects, attending air shows, speaking on radio talk shows, and, especially, telling young people about the war. As a founding member of Combat Airmen of WWII, Reidsville, N.C., he could be found, at one time or another, in classrooms and cafeterias, explaining the effort that led to victory in the war. He himself first flew a B-17 when he was "seventeen and a half years old." He told his family that he never cottoned to the "fuss made about officers" in the Armed Forces. "The best man I had was my waist gunner," he said, "and he was a sergeant." It suited his crusty sense of humor that he was also a member of the Decrepit Birdmen of World War II in Gainesville, Fla. Other organizations included Military Support Group of Alachua County, Fla.; Experimental Aircraft Assn.; Univ. of Florida Oral History Program; VFW Post 2811, Gainesville, Fla., and, more recently, VFW Post 8297, Midway-Monroeton, N.C.; American Legion; Disabled American Veterans; Marine Corps League; Alachua County (Fla.) Veterans Advisory Board; Pilot Class 1944 Assoc.
Col. Newman was a member of Dulin United Methodist Church in Mocksville, N.C.
He is survived by his daughter, Phyllis Ann Newman, who was beside him as he battled through his last year, fighting cancer and associated medical problems.
A graveside service will be held at Guilford Memorial Park, 6000 High Point Road, Greensboro, N.C. at 2 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013. Rockingham County Honor Guard will provide military honors.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent in memory of Col. Phil Newman to Wings of Dreams Aviation Museum, P.O. Box 357071, Gainesville, FL 32635.
Published in Gainesville Sun from Jan. 8 to Jan. 9, 2013