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William Russell Romansky

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William Russell Romansky Obituary
Good night Sweet Prince. May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest and may thee sleep well. Lieutenant Colonel Ret. William "Bill" Romansky, most cherished and beloved by his wife, children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and friends, passed away Monday, June 20, 2011.
Bill was born Oct. 15, 19l5, to Michael and Maria (Kozak) Romanchick. A first generation American, Bill was born in Smoke Run, Penn. but the family soon relocated to nearby Madera. Bill graduated from Madera High School in 1932. He was an honor student and a life long learner. He attended Mississippi State University and graduated from New Mexico State University in 1976. He was especially proud of his children and grandchildren who continue to honor his love of learning by continuing to advance their own higher education.
During his high school years, Bill was a star athlete at Madera High. He set state records in football, basketball and baseball. Bill played athletics in the era of leather football helmets and bounce passes in basketball. He would laugh as he said how his Russian father just could not understand why anyone would run up and down a court, wrestle in the mud over a pigskin, or try and hit a ball with a stick. After high school, Bill played semi-pro baseball before joining the military. He played second base on a USA military team that beat the Brooklyn Dodgers in an exhibition game in the late 1940s. Once his playing days were over, he turned to coaching. While assigned to Holloman Air Force Base, he was very active with youth league baseball and basketball. Over a three year period his teams compiled a record of 59 wins and 15 losses in baseball and 27 wins and one loss in basketball - for Bill, talent was important but determination, teamwork, and commitment were equally important. Bill also coached Alamogordo's American Legion baseball team to several winning seasons. We like to believe Bill's athletic abilities have been passed on to the next generation. Bill's son was an outstanding baseball player in high school, college and city teams, and like his Dad, became a winning baseball coach in Las Cruces. Bill's grandsons are known for their baseball abilities and his granddaughter excelled in high school and college athletics.
Why Bill became a pilot and decided on a career in the military is one of those romantic stories. As a teenager in rural mountainous Pa, Bill witnessed an airplane crash. As if in a movie, the pilot, in leather jacket and headgear, gingerly climbed out of the open air cockpit. Unhurt and smiling, the pilot waved at the gathering crowd as he tossed his white scarf over his shoulder. Bill often said the sight of the descending plane and the bravado of the fearless pilot was unforgettable and the catalyst to his future career. After graduating from high school, Bill moved to Cleveland OH where he worked to support his widowed mother. He "met the girl across the street who had great legs". His future wife, Yola Cherney of Ashtabula OH, was living with her aunt while attending college in Cleveland.
In 1942, Bill entered the US Army Air Corps and was assigned to Victoria Texas for pilot training. After graduation, he sent for Yola and the couple were married in Enid OK January 2nd, 1943. Bill was sent to Lockburne AFB, OH and later Maxwell AFB, AL for B-17 and B26 pilot training from 1944 to 1945 respectfully. In 1947, Bill opted to serve with the newly created USAF branch of the US Armed Forces. This decision would later result in Bill flying in the Berlin Airlift. From June 1948 to mid 1949, Bill flew C54's from the Panama Canal Zone; landing in Germany where the plane was loaded with cargo and than flew on to Berlin delivering humanitarian supplies to the people of West Berlin.
Bill's military career spanned more than 22 years. His assignments included flight training in Victoria, Texas; flight instructor in Georgia, Panama Canal Zone; Keeseler Air Force Base, Mass. (twice), Smokey Air Force Base, Kan., Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, Warren Robins Air Force Base, Ga., varies overseas assignments in South America and the Pacific and Holloman Air Force Base. Bill remained on flying status until his retirement from the Air Force in 1964. Bill was awarded the World War II Victory Medal, American Campaign Metal, Army of Occupation Medal, Germany, Medal for Humane Action; AFLSA with Four Oak Leaf Clusters, Air Medal and Nation Defense Serve Medal. He remained proudest of his command pilot wings. He retired with over 8,000 flying hours of which 7,900 flying hours were accident free. His favorite one-liner was to ask young pilots how many flying hours they had logged, than tell them he had that many hours at the top of a loop.
From 1964 until 1967, Bill worked for North American Rockwell, prime contractor to NASA's Apollo Spacecraft Program. From 1967 until 1983, Bill was the frequency manager for the 1877th Communication Squadron. In this key position, he coordinated missions for the 6585th Test Group, Holloman with White Sands Missile Range.
Bill was an avid Ohio State football fan and staunch supporter of the National Baseball League's Cincinnati Reds. Always an avid sport enthusiast, Bill was an excellent swimmer; enjoyed tennis in his younger days; and played golf regularly - he was a member of the team that built the original fourth hole at the Holloman Golf Course. Bill also counted fishing as a favorite hobby. He was a crossword puzzle enthusiast and faithfully worked the New York Times puzzle daily. He was as passionate about reading fiction as he was in reading history. He enjoyed tinkering with electronics; was a good photographer who developed his own prints, a smooth dancer and an excellent card player - a man of many talents. In later life, Bill really enjoyed his trips to the casino.
Bill was preceded in death by his mother and father; brothers Michael, John, and Stephen; sisters Ann and Mary; nephews John "Sonny," Richard "Dick" and Robert "Bobby." Bill is survived by his wife of 68 years Yola Marie (Cherney) Romansky; daughter Patricia "Patty" Ann Kotur and granddaughter Shelley Suzanne (Kotur) Cates and husband Brad and great-granddaughter Savannah Grace; granddaughter Meredith Marie (Kotur) Eddy and husband John and great-granddaughter Isabella Marie all of Albuquerque; and son Richard Russell Romansky and wife Moira; grandson Gage Russell Romansky and wife Tracy and great-grandchildren Emily, A.J. and Gavin of Rio Rancho; and grandsons Brandon William Romansky of Portales, and James Michael Romansky of the family home in Las Cruces; numerous nieces, nephews and friends.
Cremation has taken place under the care of Hamilton-O'Dell Funeral Home. A memorial service celebrating the life of Bill will be held Friday, Aug. 19 at St John's Episcopal Church in Alamogordo. A military burial will follow at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington DC.
In remembrance of our member of the greatest generation and the world's best aviator, William R. Romansky, we honor him with:

High Flight
By John Magee
Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunwards I've climbed and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds – and done a thousand things
You have not dreamed of - wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hovering there,
I've chased the shouting wind along and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air,
Up, up the long delirious burning blue
I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace,
Where never lark, or even eagle, flew;
And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand,
Published in Alamogordo Daily News from July 17 to Aug. 17, 2011
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