LASETER, Joel Brand, 95, died on Thursday, May 16, 2013, at the family home in Plant City, Florida. He was born on December 5, 1917 in Birmingham, Alabama. In 1941, he married his college sweetheart, Martha Moody of Plant City. They were married 72 years. The Laseter's children include; Peggy Lee of Plant City, Betsy and Marc Hehn of Summerville, South Carolina, and Jean and John Hehn of Plant City. He is survived by nine grandchildren, eleven great grandchildren, and son-in-law Bud Lee. While attending Georgia Tech, he was a Naval ROTC Cadet and member of the Yellow Jackets football team. In 1939, Brand joined the United States Marine Corps and became an aviation pioneer. He flew Corsairs and commanded a squadron of B-25's in the Pacific Theatre during World War II, and recently told his family that he had instructed Lt. General James H. Doolittle in the skill of night fighting. He also served in China and the Pacific Theater G-2 Section in Hawaii. After the War he assisted with the repatriation of prisoners of war to China, Japan, Russia and the United States. As a Major, he continued to serve in China after the war and assisted with efforts to re-establish China's presence in world banking. He became a Manufacturer's Representative and later founded several businesses in the pipe and pipe fitting extrusion industry. He was an Elder and active member of First Presbyterian Church in Plant City. He served on many committees of the Presbytery of Tampa Bay. He made his homes in Plant City and in Highlands, North Carolina. An avid international traveler, he visited over 80 countries and all 7 continents. At 85, he traveled to Antarctica and is thought to be the oldest person to have visited the United States Research Station at the geographic South Pole. The following year he boarded an ice breaker and visited the North Pole. He celebrated his 90th birthday with his family in Myanmar, formerly Burma, so he could see the bases which sent planes "Over the Hump" to supply him while he served in China. He frequently visited the game camps in Botswana and other parts of Africa. His family is sad to see him go on ahead of them, but they're delighted he is starting his next grand adventure. A graveside celebration of life will be held on Saturday, May 18 at 11:00 A.M. at Memorial Park, 2401 North Wheeler Street, Plant City. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Wounded Warriors Project at www.woundedwarriorsproject.org. Expressions of condolence at www.hopewellfuneral.com.
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Published in TBO.com on May 17, 2013