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Harry Key Jr.


1926 - 2019
Harry Key Jr. Obituary
KEY, JR., Harry Newton Harry Newton Key, Jr., age 93, of Lampasas, TX, died peacefully Monday July 29, 2019 at home, after a life of service to his country, state, and community. Newton, as he was known, was born in Lampasas, March 19, 1926, the son of Harry Newton and Willie (Billie) Nuckles Key. In 1943, Newton graduated from Lampasas High School, where he was center and co-captain of the District champion football team. (In 2018, he was inducted into the Lampasas Football Hall of Fame.) He attended Texas A&M University before entering the U.S. Naval Academy in 1944. Following graduation in 1948, he commenced flight training, was assigned to a fighter squadron, and toured in the Mediterranean aboard the USS Leyte. Both the ship and his air group were ordered to Korea where Newton flew combat strikes in support of UN forces. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, three air medals, and the Korean Presidential Unit Citation. On February 24, 1951, he married Cornelia Buck of Elmira, NY. He successively served as a flight training instructor, catapult and arresting gear officer, and instructor (at the Naval War College), before being assigned to the Pacific Staff, Intelligence division in Honolulu. For work with the annual SEATO intelligence meetings in Bangkok, he was awarded the Joint Services Commendation Medal. Later he commanded a Jet Training Squadron in Kingsville, TX, and served as Executive Officer aboard the helicopter carrier USS Okinawa, including a tour of duty off the Vietnamese coast in 1968-69. After a stint at the Air War College in Montgomery, AL, he was assigned to the Pentagon as Special Plans Officer for the Defense Intelligence Agency (receiving the Legion of Merit). He and his family then moved to London, for Naval Attaché duty at the U.S. Embassy. His final tour concluded commanding the Philadelphia Naval Support Activity Naval Base. He retired as Captain USN in 1978. Following retirement from the Navy, he studied at the LBJ School of Public Affairs, before being employed by the Texas Department of Community Affairs, holding the positions of Director of Housing, Director of Drug Abuse Prevention, and finally Director of Economic Opportunity. He retired in 1984 to fulfill his life dream of ranching on family land along the Lampasas River. Cornelia and Newton built a home overlooking the river, tended their cattle, and were active in their church and community (Cornelia predeceasing him in 2015). He also served on the board of the Lampasas County Chamber of Commerce and the Hill Country Community Action Agency. He is survived by his son, Newton E. Key of Charleston, IL, his granddaughter, Jenny Renn Key of New Orleans, LA, and his sister Bonilee Key Garrett of Lampasas. Memorial service is Saturday August 10, 2019 at 11:30 a.m. at First Presbyterian Church in Lampasas.
Published in Austin American-Statesman on Aug. 6, 2019
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