CARLINVILLE - Having lived a long and eventful life, Dr. Walter O. Hedrick left us to be with the Lord on December 20, 2012. He was preceded in death by his "Bride," Helen M. Hedrick (Patrick) of 64 years, his parents, and his brother Edward. He will be deeply missed by all.
Born in Springfield, IL to Otto and Edna (Wilson) Hedrick he enlisted in the Army Air Corps after Pearl Harbor. He trained and received his pilot wings in Texas and was sent to England to fly a P-51 as escort for the bombers on bombing missions over Germany.
Doctor Hedrick was assigned to the 8th Air Force, 3rd Division, 77th Wing, 356th Fighter Group, 360th Fighter Squadron. As a 1st Lieutenant he flew many missions out of Martlesham Heath, England. His airplane was shot down over Germany. After bailing out, he was captured by the German police and treated by German doctors in Nordstadt for his injuries sustained when parachuting from his burning airplane. He was held as a POW in a hospital until the 10th armored division of General Patton's 3rd army passed through the town and liberated the POWs. He was awarded the Purple Heart and was a member of the Caterpillar Club that honors those whose lives were saved by the silk parachutes made from the cocoons of silk worms.
Upon return from the war he completed a degree from the Illinois College of Optometry and practiced optometry in Virden for 40 years. He was a dedicated husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather.
Doctor Hedrick is survived by his son, Dr. Keith (wife Victoria) Hedrick of Carlinville IL, grandchildren Jason (wife Tabitha) Hedrick of Fredericksburg, VA, and Trina (husband Don) Lopeparo of Vernal, UT and two great grandchildren.
He was a life-long member of the Lutheran church, most recently belonging at Trinity Lutheran Church of Virden/Girard.
We will miss his many wonderful qualities and his strengths and lessons that helped our family understand and live the true meaning of family. He set the bar high for himself and was an excellent example of how to be responsible for yourself and your actions. He lived his life showing duty, honor, service and love to his family and country. He was definitely a contributor to the "Greatest Generation."
Visitation will be Sunday, December 23, 2012 from 2-3pm at Trinity Lutheran Church just north of Girard.
Funeral Service Sunday, December 23, 2012 at 3pm at Trinity Lutheran Church.
Memorials may go to the Trinity Lutheran Church.
Condolences may be left for the family at www.heinzfuneralhome.com