Astor Holcomb

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PUTNEY — Astor Everett Holcomb, 91 0f Putney was born on Thursday, August 31, 1922 and died Thursday, October 17, 2013 at Harlan Appalachian Regional Hospital.

He is a World War II US Army Air Corps Veteran, a Member of the Harlan Masonic Lodge # 879, the Fraternal Order of Police and was a born again Christian attending the Putney Bible Church. He was a member of the Oleika Shrine Temple in Lexington, KY which developed because of his desire to help crippled children.

He was the grandson of Dr. Johnny Holcomb, known to his many patients he visited on horseback. He learned at an early age to live the life of a mountain boy: plowing, tending the horses and mules, hunting, and roaming the mountains.

After attending Kingdom Come Settlement School, he became a soldier in the US Army Air Corp where he flew missions all over the world as a gunner on the plane. The missions in France and Germany became a reality when he was shot down twice, injured, captured and in a POW camp for a short time. Upon returning stateside, he was stationed at Tinker Field in Oklahoma City, OK. There he met the love of his life, Helen Belle Johnson. They enjoyed 56 years of a wonderful marriage, and are once again united in heaven.

He had many occupations as miner, coal truck driver, furniture store delivery man, bus driver, and deputy sheriff before he settled on his niche in life to work for the Kentucky Division of Forestry. While employed there, he was called upon to build a fire access road, later known as the Little Shepherd Trail. He was a head ranger for two years and then became the law enforcement officer for the Division of Forestry where he was over 10 counties.

He is preceded in death by his parents, Fitzhugh and Cindy Holcomb of Linefork KY; his wife, Helen Bell Holcomb and his sisters, Jean Halcomb and Alma Miles.

Left to cherish his memory are his daughters, Nancy and husband, Britt Lawson JR of Putney and Pam Halcomb also of Putney. He loved and enjoyed spending time with his grandchildren, Britt Lawson III and wife, Shannon; Mark Everett Lawson and wife, April; Bethany Bell Lawson and Michael Lawson. His great grandchildren kept a spark in his eye: Britt Lawson, IV; Anna Lawson; Hunter Lawson; Ryleigh Lawson and Zoe Lawson, all of Putney. He is also survived by a brother, Bill Halcomb and wife Norma of Dayton Ohio and a sister, Martha Asher, of Grays Knob, as well as many loving and caring nieces and nephews, including Bobbie Bowman, who he called his other daughter. He will also be sadly missed by his three faithful caregivers, Betty Sawyers, Gaynelle Halcomb and Tonya Adams.

Visitation will be Sunday from 4 to 7 PM at Henson & Rich Funeral Home.

Funeral services will follow at 7 PM Sunday with Rev. Clay Groves and Rev. Donald Lowery officiating.

Burial services will be held at Resthaven Cemetery Chapel at 11 AM Monday with Military Rights by the Harlan County Honor Guard and Masonic Services by Howard Lodge #819.

In lieu of flowers, donations are suggested to the Putney Bible Church, Putney KY 40865 or the Oleika Shrine, 326 Southland Dr, Lexington KY 40503, in memory of Astor.

Casket-bearers will be members of the Harlan Honor Guard. Honorary pallbearers will be grandsons, Britt Lawson III, Mark Everett Lawson, and Michael Lawson; Jacob Rhymer, Roy Kilgore, Danny Asher, Harold L. Howard, George Howard, Lowell Harris, Jack Lee, Tim Price and David Howard.

Online condolences can be made at or on Facebook at

Henson & Rich Funeral Home is in charge of services.

Funeral Home
Henson & Rich Funeral Home
414 Mound St
Harlan, KY 40831
(606) 573-1362
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Published in The Harlan Daily Enterprise from Oct. 18 to Oct. 19, 2013
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