William Lester Hoots, 91, passed away March 28, 2013, at 2:28 p.m. at Scott County Nursing Home.
He was born Sept. 4, 1921 in Frogue, Ky., the son of Travis and Trannie King Hoots. The family moved to Illinois is 1922 where he spent the remainder of his life.
He married the former Mildred Cummins in 1943 in St. Louis. Together they had three children, Cheryl (husband, J.R.) Partlow of Southhaven, Miss., Lanny (companion, Susie Cottler) of Patterson and Michael (wife, Missy) of White Hall. He is also survived by grandchildren, Amy Branscum, Amanda McCollum, Travis Hoots and Jessie Hoots; a sister, Mildred Cummins; and numerous great grand children. He was preceded in death by his wife, Mildred; a granddaughter, Dawn Merrill and a sister, Ruby Gilmore.
He spent the majority of his life serving his country, first as a gunner in the 91st Bomb group during World War II. He completed 25 missions on his first tour of duty flying out of England. After a short leave, he was back flying combat missions on B-17s with the 303 bomber group. On Nov. 26, 1944, his plane was shot down over Germany. He was taken prisoner of war, escaped in April 1945 and was picked up by the British. His other later assignments included flight engineer and crew chief out of bases in Dayton, Ohio, Limestone, Maine, Blytheville Ark., Kadena, Okinawa, and Rantoul. He also served 18 months in Vietnam. His final duty was at Elssworth AFB in South Dakota where he retired in September 1970.
During his many years of service he received the following metals and citations: Air Crew Wing, Distinguished Flying Cross, Purple Heart, Air Medal with six silver oak leaf clusters, Presidential Unit Citation, AF Outstanding Unit Award with two bronze clusters, Prisoner of War medal, AF Good Conduct metal, Euro-African-Middle Eastern Campaign with two bronze stars, World War II Victory medal, Vietnam service medal with one bronze star, AF Longevity Service medal with three bronze clusters, Republic of Vietnam campaign medal, Military Training Instructor Ribbon and Expert Marksmanship Ribbon.
After retirement, he resided in Patterson, and worked for the Jacksonville Developmental Center as a security guard.
He will long be remembered for his love of machinery (particularly old trucks and tractors) his love of country, his quick laugh, his immense vitality and his love of life and his family.
Funeral services will be held 10:30 a.m. Tuesday at the Daws Family Funeral Home in Roodhouse, with interment at the Richwood Cemetery, east of Roodhouse. Visitation will be Monday after 2 p.m. with the family meeting friends from 6-8 p.m. at the funeral home. Memorials are suggested to the Scott County Nursing Center or the Richwood Cemetery. Condolences may be left online at www.mackeydaws.com.
Published in Jacksonville Journal-Courier on Mar. 30, 2013
Mackey Daws Funeral Home - Roodhouse
202 West Franklin Roodhouse, IL 62082