A Navy jet fighter pilot and "Typhoon Tracker" took his final fight into the heavens on April 6, 2013.
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A 38 year resident of Mount Vernon, WA, Bill was born August 8, 1922 in Cleveland, OH, where he graduated from E. Technical High School.
Throughout his Naval career he attended Wooster University, OH; Iowa University, IA; Miami University, OH and USC. Commissioned as a Naval Aviator at Pensacola, FL, he carrier-qualified in an F6F Hellcat with the cockpit open, on two converted cruise ships, the Sable and the Wolverine on a freezing Lake Michigan. After Fighter Affiliation Training in Jacksonville, FL, Bill joined Fighter Squadrons at Brunswick, ME and Alameda, CA. In San Francisco, on his last night ashore before boarding a carrier for the Pacific, with his paycheck going by allotment to his mother, he gave away his last twenty dollar bill to a hat-check girl ("Honey, I won't need this where I'm going.") The next day was V-J Day, the war had ended and he was penniless in San Francisco. Following V-J Day, Bill was trained to fly the Corsair in Fallon, NV, transferred to Norfolk, VA, then released. While out of the Navy, Bill joined the 1st Air Reserve Squadron at NAS Glenview, IL, worked for IBM in Chicago and met his future wife, Julanne (Mickey) Murphy, of Ottawa, Canada. Returning to active duty, Bill married Mickey at NAS Norfolk, VA in October 1948, then was stationed at NAS Oceana, VA where he flew the F8F Bearcat, and in September 1949 Mickey gave birth to their daughter Cathleen. 1950-1953 found Bill back in the civilian world, returning to IBM in Chicago, after which he accepted orders to active duty at NAS Moffatt Field, CA where he flew the F2H Banshee. Sea duty aboard the carrier Essex in the Pacific was cut short when the hook on his Banshee broke (metal fatigue) upon approach to the carrier, resulting in an unavoidable crash on the straight deck, where planes were parked forward from the barrier. He eventually returned through military hospitals in Japan, Hawaii and California, with a broken jaw, a broken ankle; and a broken rib discovered years later. Upon recovery he was assigned as Project Pilot in Air Development Squadron 5 (VX5), also at Moffatt Field where he trained a squadron that included Alan Shepherd, in Special Weapons Delivery. Returning to the Midwest, Bill became Assistant/Acting Operations Officer at NAS Olathe, KS followed by an assignment as Training Officer for 3 Attack Squadrons at NAS Los Alamitos, CA where he flew the Cougar. Switching out of fighter planes in 1962, Bill was assigned briefly to Hawaii for training, then on to Guam where he became a "Typhoon Tracker" in a weather squadron (VWI), flying a Super Constellation into the eye of oncoming typhoons with frequent landings in Japan, Okinawa and the Philippines. While in Guam, Typhoon Karen hit the island, destroying 90% of the civilian homes and the other half of the military duplex where Bill and family were quartered. However, the tour also enabled them to enjoy off-island "rest and relaxation" visits to Hong Kong, Japan and the Philippines. Upon returning to the states Bill was sent to NAS New Orleans, LA as Aviation Safety Officer, then finished his career at NAS Whidbey Island where he retired in July 1969.
An avid fisherman, he became hooked on West Coast fishing after his first catch in the Skagit River, a 54-pound salmon! And for 20 years he and Mickey alternated driving 12,000 miles around the country visiting family and friends, with fishing in northern British Columbia for rainbow trout. He even taught Mickey to cut night crawlers in half.
Known as a gourmet chef, he delighted in planning the day-long feasts at his annual Super Bowl parties until Arizona's sunshine beckoned Bill and Mickey south for the winters, beginning in 1995.
In 2007 they moved to Apache Junction, AZ permanently. To the end Bill was fascinated by aviation and spent many an hour watching "Wings" on TV. Now, again, he has his own.
Bill attended St. Charles Church in Burlington, WA and St. George Church in Apache Junction, AZ.
He was a member of Elks BPOE 2349 in Apache Junction, American Legion Post 0091 and the Disabled American Veterans.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Anton F. and Emma Schultz Lucic; his brother and sister-in-law Anthony and Ann Lucic; his brother Edward Lucic; his sister and brother-in-law Francis and Edward Slabe; his sister Eleanor Skufca; and his brother-in-law Vincent Povse.
Bill is survived by his wife Mickey; a daughter, Cathleen Anne Martin and her husband Frederick of Lake Charles, LA; grandsons Douglas of San Francisco and Charles and his wife Angela of Madisonville, LA; sister Emma Povse of Sylvania, OH; brother-in-law Gus Skufca of Mentor, OH; sister and brother-in-law LaVerne and Lou Skubic of Mentor, OH and numerous nieces and nephews.
Funeral Mass will be at 1:00 pm Friday, April 12, 2013 at St. George Catholic Church, 300 E 16th Ave., Apache Junction, AZ, reception following. Inurnment at 3:00 pm at Mountain View Cemetery, 7900 E. Main St., Mesa, AZ.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to the Hospice of your choice or the Boy Scouts of America.
Published in Skagit Valley Herald Publishing Company on Apr. 10, 2013