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Walbrook D. Swank

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SWANK, Walbrook D. Retired U.S. Air Force Col. Walbrook Davis Swank of "Walbrook" at Fredericks Hall passed away Sunday, May 4, 2008. He is survived by his wife, Frances Powell Keller Gordon Swank; his stepson, Robert R. Keller and his wife, Sarah, and granddaughter, Emily; and sisters-in-law, Blanche and Ann Powell and their families. He was preceded in death by his second wife, Nellie Mae Stewart Pettit Swank, and is survived by her stepson, Pembroke R. Pettit and his wife, Deborah; granddaughters, Leanne Pettit and Arabella Pettit Moss and her husband, Charles; and great-grandchildren, Moriah Joy and MacDaniel Bentley. He also was preceded in death by his first wife, Jane Orr Swank; sisters-in-law, Virginia Orr Shield and Winnie Orr Sutton; a brother-in-law, Jack Orr; and is survived by sisters-in-law, Nancy Orr Jones and Joy Orr Hocher; and brother-in-law, Robert Orr, and their families. Also surviving are cousins, Courtney Van Fosson, John Davis and Phyllis Driver Diller; and a host of friends and colleagues around the world. Col. Swank received numerous awards for meritorious and outstanding service with the Air Force during World War II and the Korean War, and a Distinguished Service Citation from the Secretary of the Treasury. During World War II, his duties included assisting some notable Americans, including the presidents son, Gen. Elliott Roosevelt, Gen. Charles Lindbergh, Jimmy Doolittle and Jimmy Stewart, the movie actor. He served a tour of duty at the White House during the Eisenhower administration. He was a member of the Federal Personnel Councils of Cincinnati, Ohio; Chicago, Ill.; San Francisco, Calif.; and Anchorage, Alaska. He was a member of the War Department Personnel Research Council, and served as a member of the board of directors of the Army and Air Force Civilian Welfare Fund for 19 years. The colonel was a member of the Military Officers Association of America and the Military Order of the Stars and Bars, from which he received its Distinguished Service Award and its Southern Culture Award. As an author, he was the recipient of the prestigious Sir Moses Ezekiel Award for achievement in literature by the Virginia Society of the Military Order of the Stars and Bars, and the MOSB Henry Timrod Southern Culture Award. He was a founding member of the World War II Memorial Society and of the Military Order of the Foreign Wars of the United States, and the American Air Museum in Britain. He was a prolific writer of Civil War stories and authored or edited 17 books on the subject, several relating to events, activities and people in Louisa County. He also produced four books relating to World War II. He was awarded membership in the Bonnie Blue Society based on his scholarly research and published literature, and was the recipient of the United Daughters of the Confederacys Jefferson Davis Medal for his outstanding contributions to the preservation and promotion of our Southern history and heritage. He received the organizations Cross of Military Service. He was a member of the Society of Civil War Historians in Louisa County, the Harrisonburg Rockingham and Virginia Historical Societies, the Museum of the Confederacy and the Thomas Jefferson Chapter of the Virginia Society of the Sons of the American Revolution. Col. Swank was the founder and first commander of the Trevilian Station Camp, Sons of Confederate Veterans. He was honored by letters of commendation from U.S. Sen. George Allen, Gov. Mark Warner, Sen. R. Edward Houck and the Senate of the commonwealth of Virginia for his contributions to the heritage and culture of the American South and preservation of Louisa Countys historic Trevilian Station battlefield. He was a past president of the Worthington, Ohio, Kiwanis Club and a former member of the Columbus, Ohio, Junior Chamber of Commerce. He was a member of the board of directors of the Louisa County Lions Club and the Louisa County Historical Society. He was a life member of the Ohio State University Alumni Association and the Phi Kappa Tau Fraternity. Col. Swank was a member of the Episcopal Church of the Incarnation in Mineral. His family will receive friends Thursday, May 8, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Church of the Incarnation, where a funeral will be held Saturday, May 10, at 11 a.m. Interment will be in Bethphage Christian Church cemetery in Fredericks Hall. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Episcopal Church of the Incarnation, Box 307, Mineral, Va. 23117; or to any rescue squad or fire department. Visit woodwardfuneral.com for online guest book.
Published in Dayton Daily News on May 7, 2008
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