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Michael R. Petrich

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Michael R. Petrich Michael R. (Mickey) Petrich of Long Beach passed away on April 23 at the age of 86. He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Millicent; children, Sharon Hipp, Susan, Michael, and John Petrich; brother, Harold E. (Betty) Petrich; seven grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren, and over thirty nieces and nephews. Born February 8, 1920 in Jerome, AZ, he moved to Long Beach with his family at age 2. He graduated from Poly High in 1936 and attended LB City College, where he played football. He entered the Army Air Corps in 1943 and became a B -26 Martin Marauder pilot, attached to the 9th Air Force, 575th Bomb Squadron, 391st Bomb Group in England. Shot down over France in July 1944 on his 42nd mission, he was held as a German prisoner of war until the U.S. Army liberated the camps in April 1945. As a POW, he was among a group of 168 Allied airmen who were imprisoned in the notorious Buchenwald concentration camp. There he experienced the evils of Nazism first-hand. The story was memorialized in "Shot from the Sky," a 2004 production that aired on the History Channel. He was awarded the European Theater Service medal, Air medal with seven oak leaf clusters, and the POW medal. Mickey rejoined civilian life, married Millicent, the love of his life, in 1947; and started dual careers at the Long Beach Naval Shipyard and as a motion picture projectionist. He retired from LBNS at age 57. He was serving as secretary/treasurer of IATSE Local 521 when he died. He and his wife enjoyed golf and travel, especially with the Divoteers, playing in Scotland, Ire land, Switzerland, Hawaii, and throughout the continental U.S. In 1994, Michael and Millicent journeyed to England and France for D-Day tributes, visiting his airbase in England, Omaha Beach, and Paris. He was a member of Old Ranch Golf Club for 33 years, Our Lady of Refuge Church, Peppermint Ridge, B-26 Marauder Historical Society, and the 391st Bomb Group Association. He actively supported several of these organizations, volunteering his time and donating to their missions. His devotion to duty, country, and family was unswerving. He enjoyed his family and friends and will be dearly missed by all. Donations may be made in his name to the Memorial Medical Foundation Todd Cancer Fund or Peppermint Ridge, 825 Magnolia Ave., Corona, CA 92879. His memorial mass will be celebrated on Saturday, April 29, at 11:00 AM at Our Lady of Refuge Catholic Church, 5195 E. Stearns St. at Los Coyotes Diagonal/Clark/Stearns Sts. in Long Beach. A memorial reception will follow. Private inurnment will be held at the VA National Cemetery in Riverside, CA. Please sign the guestbook at Presstelegram.com/obituaries.
Published in the Long Beach Press-Telegram from Apr. 25 to Apr. 27, 2006
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