Lt. Colonel George I. Tripp Jr., age 88, passed away peacefully Saturday, Nov. 29, 2008, at the Livingston County Center for Nursing & Rehabilitation in Mt. Morris, N.Y.
George was born Aug. 7, 1920, in Bergen to G. Irving and Katherine (Simpson) Tripp. George was predeceased by two sisters, Thelma Weiner and Evelyn Causyn and a brother, Ralph Ivan Tripp. George entered the Army Air Corps on Oct. 2, 1940, as a mechanic. After Pearl Harbor, George entered pilot training, receiving his wings on April 1, 1943, at Luke Field, Ariz.; he then served as a P-38 Lightning Pilot in the European Theatre taking part in D-Day flying over the beachheads providing cover to invasion troops from enemy planes. He was shot down over Normandy, France, on June 22, 1944, evading capture with the aid and bravery of the French people. He served 20-plus years in the active Air Force Reserve achieving the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He received his Air Force Reserve certificate for 40 continuous years in 1980.
Upon returning from overseas, George married Nora Boston of Brockport, N.Y., on Oct. 31, 1944, and was stationed at the Santa Rosa Army Air Base in California. At the end of the war, they returned to Brockport where he worked at Bausch & Lomb and Delco before attending SUNY Brockport earning his bachelors and masters degrees in Education and Administration. He served the Greece Central School District as teacher and principal at Paddy Hill, Buckman Heights, West Ridge and Longridge schools.
George and Nora were the parents of five children, Richard (Carol), Patricia Gould, Robert (deceased), Nancy (Barry) Massing and Philip; a daughter-in-law, Karen Kelly; the proud grandparents of 10 grandchildren; 12 great grandchildren and one great-great-grandson; many nieces, nephews and cousins.
Upon his retirement, after 25 years with the Greece Central School District, George and Nora moved to Springwater, N.Y., where he became very active in the community. He was an active member of the Springwater United Methodist Church serving as trustee, a life member of the Springwater Fire Department with 20 years as fire police captain, was a 3rd degree mason, joining Nov. 3, 1953, and a member of the S. Dansville/Wayland Lodge 478. As a member of the American Legion since 1941, he joined Post 905 of Springwater holding several offices including two terms as commander and received his gold card for life membership. He served as treasurer and commander of the Livingston County American Legion. He was co-founder and gold card life member of the Springwater Squadron 905 of the Sons of the American Legion (SAL). In 1995, he successfully served as Commander of the Seventh District, which he named the "Super Seventh" and served as Commander's Aid under Department Commander Ted Colman. In addition, George was a member of the Springwater Rod & Gun Club serving a term as president and was a member of the Springwater-Websters Crossing Historical Society.
Outside of Springwater, George was a member of the Escape and Evasion Society, Air Force Association, Pilot's Class 43-D Association, the 485th Fighter Squadron and enjoyed traveling to reunions throughout the country. He volunteered countless hours at the 1941 Historical Aircraft Group Museum and at the VA Hospital in Canandaigua, N.Y. In his leisure time, George enjoyed golfing, hunting, fishing and his family.
Funeral services at the Springwater United Methodist Church. Burial with full military honors in Mt. Vernon Cemetery, Springwater.