Retired Lt. Col. William H. Pickron Jr. with the U.S. Air Force, of Murfreesboro, Tenn., died Oct. 7, 2013. He was 90 years old.
He was preceded in death by his parents, William H. and Willie Ellen Robinson Pickron.
Born in McCaully, Texas, on March 7, 1923, Mr. Pickron joined the Army Air Corps as a private in March 1941. He earned his wings as a staff sergeant because he had not yet reached 21 years of age as required to become a commissioned officer.
During World War II, Mr. Pickron served as a fighter pilot in both the European and Pacific theaters. He flew the P-39, P-40, P-47, P-51 and P-38.
Later as a squadron commander in Ramstein, Germany, he flew the F-84 and F-86. Mr. Pickron also flew the F-104 as a pilot and flight instructor for the Italian Air Force in Rome, Italy.
He was also the Air Force adviser to the Tennessee Air National Guard in Knoxville, Tenn.
Mr. Pickron retired from the Air Force in 1967 and became the state of Tennessee’s first chief pilot hired by then Gov. Buford Ellington to fly him and state officials. He was also chief pilot for Govs. Winfield Dunn and Ray Blanton.
Mr. Pickron was a rated commander pilot in over 50 aircrafts, and his awards include four Air Medals, two Presidential Unit Citations, the Tennessee National Guard Distinguished Service Award and a Commendation from the Italian Air Force.
Mr. Pickron co-authored the writing of the book “Missions Remembered,” recalling his World War II exploits.
He was inducted into the Tennessee Aviation Hall of Fame in 2009.
He is preceded in death by his parents, William H. Pickron and Willie Ellen Robinson Pickron.
Mr. Pickron was married to Lillian Bess Darden Pickron, and they recently celebrated their 69th wedding anniversary.
He is survived by his loving wife, Bess Pickron; his three children, Pat West and her husband, Dr. Norman West, of Sewanee, Tenn., Margaret Bennett and her husband, Jerry Bennett, of Hendersonville, Tenn., and William H. Pickron III and his wife, Beth Pickron, of Germantown, Tenn.; grandchildren, Jennifer Grab and her husband, Matt, Natalie McMullen and her husband, Tim, Jeremiah Bennett and his wife, Erin, and James M. Patton III; as well as 10 great-grandchildren, all of who will miss a member of the Greatest Generation.
Visitation will be Monday, Oct. 14, at Woodfin Memorial Chapel from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.. A graveside service will be Monday, Oct. 14, at 2 p.m. at Middle Tennessee Veterans Cemetery in Pegram, Tenn., with full military honors.
Memorials may be made to the Shriners Hospital, the Wounded Warrior Project or to a charity of your choice.
Online condolences can be made at www.woodfinchapel.com.
Woodfin Memorial Chapel