Lloyd Francis Wright, 95 years of age of Findlay, died early Sunday morning, January 25, 2015, at Shelby Memorial Hospital in Shelbyville, IL. He was born January 11, 1920 in rural Todds Point Township, Shelby County, IL, the only son of Earl “Grampy” Wright and Charity “Mother Wright” Briney.
Lloyd was a retired farmer, bus driver in the Findlay School District, and cemetery caretaker for 4 public cemeteries in Okaw and Todds Point Townships in Shelby County, as well as 2 cemeteries in Moultrie County.
He was a Navy Veteran of World War #2 and served in Naval Air Units VPB 25, 99 & 100. He held the rating of Aviation Ordinance Mate 3 and served as a turret machine gunner on PBY & PBM Naval Amphibious Reconnaissance Bombers in the Pacific Theater. The latter were in the famous “Black Cat” squadrons, so called because they originally flew Catalina aircraft painted black for airborne-radar-directed night combat reconnaissance. Later in the war, they flew the larger Martin Mariners, which could stay aloft for nearly 24 hours, and which allowed them to fly out of Pacific Island areas and patrol the China coast’s “free fire zones” at night from Indochina northward into Japanese controlled territory. Prior to the liberation of the Philippines, he flew on one especially dangerous reconnaissance mission into Hong Kong harbor during the daytime when the Japanese fleet was in port, where they took heavy fire but were not shot down. He was a graduate of both the Naval Aviation Radar Operations School and the Aviation Ordnance School. Among his awards and decorations were the American Area Service Ribbon, Asiatic Pacific Area Ribbon (with one additional star), Philippine Liberation Ribbon, W.W. #2 Victory Ribbon and Combat Aircrew Wings (with 3 Battle Stars). He was a Disabled American Veteran as a result of damage to one of his lungs during his service. He was a member of American Legion Post 409 (Clarence Bixler) at Findlay for over 50 years.
He was married to Nita Blanche Lumpp at Shelbyville, IL on June 2, 1946. They lived in or near Findlay during their entire marriage of over 60 years. They had 3 children. She preceded him in death on July 11, 2013.
Lloyd was an outdoors person and loved to hunt, fish and trap, and particularly liked to hunt for morel mushrooms.
He is survived by sons R. Glen Wright and Paul E. Wright (special friend, Linda Coffman), both of Findlay, daughter Karla L. Sharp and husband Joseph of Springfield, MO, grandsons Mark E. Robinson and wife Christina of the Chicago area, John L. Wright of New York City, William A. Wright of Findlay, and Rev. Justin Sharp and wife Erin of Springfield, MO, grand-daughters Jennifer A. Ashley and husband Jonathon of Bethany, and Kristina L. Luttrell and husband David of Edinburg, and step-grand-daughters Tiffany A. Hancock and husband Brock and Heather N. Ingram; 9 great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his brother-in-law, Leverett E. “Gene” Lumpp of Shelbyville, and numerous nephews and nieces.
He was preceded in death by his 2 sisters, Emma Jane Rhea and Virginia June Dixon.
Visitation will be at Lockart-Green Funeral Home in Findlay from 5:00 to 8:00 P.M. on Tuesday, January 27, 2015. The funeral will be held there the following morning, January 28th at 10:00 A.M., with burial following in Wright Cemetery. Funeral services will be provided by the Rev. Nathan Jesse. Pall bearers are his grandsons, plus grand-daughters’ spouses, being Mark E. Robinson, John L. Wright, William A. Wright, Justin Sharp, David Luttrell, Jonathan Ashley, and Brock Hancock, and nephew Bradley W. Lumpp. American Legion Post 409 will provide a Military Service with Firing Squad and the playing of Taps. Additional honors will be provided by the Illinois Patriot Guard.
The family recommends memorial donations to the American Legion Post 409 in Findlay and/or the combined Cemetery Association of Okaw & Todds Point Townships.