Lieutenant Colonel Jeff Johnston PiercyLt. Col. Jeff Johnston Piercy, USAF, (Ret.), aged 95 years, of Carthage, MO, died quietly and peacefully on Friday, November 15, 2019 at his Missouri Century Farm in rural Carthage, MO with his daughters by his side. He was born on April 25, 1924 on the same farm to Trenton Otterbine Piercy and Jessie Webb Johnston Piercy. He graduated from Carthage High School in 1942 where he was in the Army Junior ROTC Program. He was sworn in as an enlisted student at U.S. Army College Training Academy, College of Idaho, Caldwell, ID on February 28, 1943. In July of 1944 he was selected as an Aviation Cadet US Army (Air Corps). While in Idaho he met the love of his life Leatha Annabelle Feeler. On April 15, 1944 he completed Army Air Force Pilot School at Douglas Army Airfield, Douglas, AZ and was sworn in as a second lieutenant. Jeff married Leatha in Carthage on April 23, 1944. They enjoyed over 62 years together traveling the USA and the world.
As a 19-year old aircraft commander he flew 26 missions (178 combat hours), including daylight bombing of Germany, out of the 567th Squadron, 389th Bomb Group, in Hethel, England. During his more than 30-years in the military service he had many assignments, serving most notably as a C-45 and C-47 pilot, Hq. 20th Weather Squadron, Nagoya, Japan during the occupation after WW II; a C-54 aircraft commander during the Korean War airlift from USA to Japan, 62nd Troop Carrier Group, McChord Air Force Base and Larson Air Force Base in Washington; a T-33 pilot and assistant adjutant, Tactical Strike Force, Hq. 12th Air Force during the Formosa crisis; C-118 and U-3 pilot and executive officer to the Commander, Space Systems Division, Los Angeles Air Force Station, which coordinated the early space program at Cape Canaveral, FL; and a C-7A aircraft commander and Squadron Commander, 458th Tactical Airlift Sq., Cam Rahn Air Base, Vietnam.
He wrote in his own words for the Airmen Heritage Archives of the Air Force Memorial in 2010:
“I wanted to fly ever since I saw my first airplane. At 18 I was sworn in as an enlisted student in the US Army and was directed to the US Army College Training Detachment at the University of Idaho. I met my future beautiful wife, Leatha, during that auspicious first assignment! Selected to be an Aviation Cadet in the Air Corps I completed pilot training at Douglas Army Airfield, Arizona. I loved being a pilot and flew 11 different operational aircraft over the years. I flew B- 24 Liberators in WW II, C-54 Skymasters in the Korean War, and C-7A Caribous in Vietnam. I served in bomb groups; troop carrier units; Air Weather Service; 18th, 12th and 3rd Air Forces; Space Systems Division; and USAF Security Service. The Air Force enriched my life and my family’s life with worldwide travel experiences and from living in many US states, Japan and England. Leatha, my wife, made this nomadic life possible by creating and keeping our home regardless of the situation while raising our two daughters – she made the good times outstanding and the bad times bearable. I am grateful to have been able to serve my country in the USAF and also to see that rub off on my daughters. Ann Lisa is a retired USAF Major and Jeanne is a retired USCG Chief Petty Officer. At this time in my life, I can look back over the 30 years and say being in the Air Force was a truly wonderful and rewarding profession.”
He was a USAF command pilot with 6,474 flying hours and a commercial pilot license: single and multi-engine land. He completed a BA in Business Administration in 1961 through the Air Force Institute of Technology Civilian Institutions Program at the University of Colorado in Boulder. He was a member of two honorary management fraternities: Sigma Iota Epsilon and Beta Gamma Sigma. In 1975 he completed an MA in Environmental Management at the University of Texas at San Antonio. In 1985 he was inducted into the Order of Daedalians, Stinson Chapter.
In 1975 he became a commercial, residential and investment realtor with Rosow and Kline Realtors, Inc. in San Antonio and later owner and broker of Piercy Enterprises which specialized in the same areas. He served on the board of directors of the Security Service Federal Credit Union which had over 120,000 members and $260 million in assets at that time. He was president, 1st vice president, and chairman of various committees from 1972 to 1989. He was an election worker and presiding judge at the Central Counting Station, Bexar County TX from 1989 to 1999. He took pleasure in caring for his 1931 Model A Ford for over 60 years and relished driving it in the Maple Leaf Parade in Carthage. He enjoyed working on his farm and tinkering with many projects when he returned to Carthage in late 2007. He was proud of being a good steward of the land on his family’s farm and carrying on the conservation efforts begun by his family before him. He was a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Carthage where he was an elder for several years and was active in his church’s turn to deliver meals from the Carthage Senior Center to local homebound individuals for as long as he could.
He is survived by daughter, Ann Lisa Piercy, Major, USAF, (Ret.) and husband Steven Pont, Captain, USAF, (Ret. Reserve) of Yellow Springs, Ohio; daughter, Jeanne Louise Piercy Perez, Chief, USCG, (Ret.) and husband Mark Jon Perez, Chief, USCG, (Ret.) of Bakersfield CA.
Internment with full military honors will be at the Hackney Cemetery, Carthage, MO. A repast will be held at the Piercy Family Farm following the inurnment. Please RSVP for the repast by April 6, 2020 to Knell Mortuary, 417-358-2105 or email: email@example.com.
Memorial donations can be sent to a 10-year scholarship fund that has been set up in his name through the Daedalian Foundation, P.O. Box 249, JBSA-Randolph TX 78148.
The Piercy family requests that all donations be made in April 2020, if possible, and gratefully acknowledges all prayers, condolences and memorial donations.
Online condolences may be expressed through www.knellmortuary.com. Arrangements are under the direction and personal care of Knell Mortuary.