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POPE KERMIT R. POPE On April 20, 2014 Easter Sunday at 5:30 in the morning, Kermit Rudolph "Rudy" Pope, Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) United State Air Force passed away. After years of coping with Parkinson's, Rudy succumbed at the age of 93 to pneumonia following surgery to repair a broken hip caused by a fall. Rudy was born March 4, 1921 in Rockbridge Bath, Virginia to Reverend George and Ida Sue Pope. He was the youngest of five children. Rudy joined the Army Air Corps in 1943 and served in the European Theater as a pilot of a B17 Bomber, known as the "Flying Fortress", with the "Mighty 8th" out of England. On the Sunday after Thanksgiving 1944, on a mission over Germany, his plane was badly damaged by enemy fire. With an injured crew, severely wounded himself, and with only one of four engines operating, Lieutenant Pope coaxed his plane into Belgium Air Space where he crash landed the plane, saving the lives of his injured crew members. They were captured by German soldiers and served the remainder of the war in a POW camp. Following his release from the POW camp, Rudy returned to the States. While visiting his best friend, also a pilot, in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, Rudy met his bride-to-be, Mary Nell Michael, on a blind date in August 1945. They were married two weeks later and celebrated 66 anniversaries till the passing of Mary Nell in 2011. They had five children: Kermit Rudolph II, Susan Candice, Michael Alan, Robert Keith and Gregory Lance. To the family were added sixteen grandchildren and seventeen great grandchildren. Rudy served in the Vietnam War from 1968-1969 at the Tan Son Nhut Air Base near Saigon where he was awarded the Bronze Star for Meritorious Service. Retiring after nearly 30 years in the Air Force, he continued to serve military members, to whom he was dedicated, during his second career with Acacia Mutual Insurance Company. Rudy was a member of Saint Matthews United Methodist Church in Annandale, VA since 1959, dedicating himself to helping others through a myriad of charitable organizations. A viewing is scheduled for Saturday, April 26 at Demaine Funeral Home, 5308 Backlick Road in Springfield, Virginia from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. The church services will take place Thursday, May 15 at Saint Matthews United Methodist Church, 8617 Little River Turnpike, Annandale, Virginia at 11 a.m. with a Celebration of Life to follow. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in Rudy's name to
. Interment at Arlington National Cemetery will be scheduled at a later date. www.demainefunerals.comwww.demainefunerals.com
Published in The Washington Post on Apr. 25, 2014