Raymond Pritchard Obituary

Raymond  Pritchard
Raymond Paul Pritchard
Raymond Pritchard

November 14, 1919 - May 18, 2015
Born in Minburn, IA
Resided in Norwalk, IA
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Raymond Paul Pritchard, 95, known to many as Paul, passed away May 18, 2015. He was born in Minburn, Iowa on November 14, 1919, the son of Alex and Maud Pritchard. Raymond had two brothers, Thomas Rex and Francis Max Pritchard and three sisters Mary, Katherine and Eleanor all who preceded him in death.

Raymond graduated from Bondurant High School in 1937. Raymond worked for Standard Oil Company in Des Moines when he was drafted into the Army Air Corps in October, 1941. He completed Basic Training at Sheppard Field, Texas, before he was assigned to Aircraft Mechanics School with Boeing Aircraft Company in Seattle, Washington.

After schooling Ray performed line maintenance duty for aircrews in training at Tampa, Florida and Walla Walla, Washington. He volunteered for flight service and was sent to Wendover, Utah for Aerial Gunnery School. Ray was assigned to an aircrew and completed phases of overseas training at Blythe, California; Pyote, Texas and Dyersburg, Tennessee. He and his crew then picked up a new aircraft at Savannah, Georgia and flew to Valley, Wales through GooseBay, Labrador and Iceland. Ray was assigned to the 384th Bomb Group at Grafton Underwood, England.

Ray flew nine combat missions. The most memorable of which was his last mission, on April 25, 1945, a bombing raid on the Skoda Armament Works at Pilsen, Czechoslovakia. "We had to make three bomb runs on the target before it could be seen visually. The flak was murderous. When we got back our tail gunner had a large hole in the tail section right behind his position. We found him lying on his back laughing and looking up where the flak had come through the plane and missed him."

After V-E Day (Victory in Europe) Ray was sent to Istres, France, where his Bomb Group began moving American troops to staging areas for return to the United States. Ray left France in early December, 1945 and returned to England where he boarded the German ocean liner "Europa" to sail back to America.

Ray received his discharge from military service on December 24, 1945 at Camp Grant, Illinois. He had been awarded the Air Medal, European Theater of Operations and World War II Victory Medals. He fought valiantly in WW II in many bombing missions. The Honorable Senator Charles Grassley honored Mr. Pritchard by saying he was, "critical to the war effort".

After the war Raymond married Helen L. Wilson of Leon, Iowa. They were married for 63 years until her death earlier this year. Raymond worked for 31 years at the Des Moines Post Office, retiring in 1974. Then worked for 2 years for the State of Iowa, Highway Patrol, Dept. of Public Safety, Post 1.

Raymond became a 3rd degree Master Mason on May 31, 1958. He was a 50 year member of Pioneer Masonic Lodge and a 32nd degree Scottish Rite Mason. He became a member of the Altoona Za-Ga-Zig Shrine in 1985. He served as Chaplain in the Legion of Honor in 2003. He belonged to Christ United Methodist Church in Des Moines, Iowa and the 8th Air Force Historical Society.

Raymond is survived by three children: Sharon K. Damron of Coronado, California, Alex Lee (Kim) Pritchard of Austin, Texas, and Steven Paul (Michelle) Pritchard of Newton, Iowa; 7 grandchildren; 3 step grandchildren and 7 great grandchildren.

Visitation will be held from 5-7pm, Thursday, May 21, 2015 at Iles Westover Chapel. Funeral and Masonic services will be held at 1:00 p.m., Friday at the funeral home. Interment will be at Masonic Cemetery Mausoleum, with Military Honors.

Memorial contributions may be directed to Christ United Methodist Church.

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Westover Funeral Home
6337 Hickman Road
Des Moines, IA US 50322
Thursday, May 21, 2015
5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Westover Funeral Home
Friday, May 22, 2015
1:00 PM
Masonic Cemetery Mausoleum
1550 - 48th Street
Des Moines, IA US 50311
Friday, May 22, 2015
2:00 PM


Christ United Methodist Church
5723 Franklin
Des Moines, IA 50310