Cover photo for John J. Yurek's Obituary
John J. Yurek Profile Photo

John J. Yurek

d. January 27, 2015

JOHN J. YUREK age 94, beloved husband of the late Virginia (nee Larsen). Dear father of Wayne (wife Lori, deceased) and Marjorie King. Loving grandfather of Sarah Lewis, Samuel Ferry and Jaya King. Great grandfather of Madeline Lewis. Dear brother of the following deceased: Susan Fetchik and Peter, Paul and Stephen Yurek. Dear brother-in-law to Caroline Herbert, Andrew Fetchik, the late Harry Larsen and the late Edwin Larsen. Loving uncle to Bonnie Mentro, Doug Herbert, Cheryl McAlister, Guy Larsen, Sally Jambor, Susan Forgacs, Phillip Fetchik, and the late Drew Fetchik. U.S. Army Air Force Veteran of World War II, elementary school teacher, employment counselor and master fisherman.

Please join the family for a Memorial Mass on Wednesday, February 4, 2015 at 9:00 a.m. in St. Patrick Catholic Church 512 North Main St. Wellington, Ohio.

Army Air Force Service of John Yurek:
28 Dec 1948 to 12 Jan 1946 Staff Sergeant, Airplane and engine mechanic and Airplane maintenance technician. He was responsible for the mechanics on P40's, P59's, Fighters and Black Widows. Maintained controls, fuselage, wings, cockpit and tail assembly. Performed inspections, repaired or replaced worn parts, kept records of inspections.Started and ran engines prior to take off, for inspections. Removed worn engines from mountings and replaced with new
engines as required.

549th Fighter Squadron
He was transferred to Iwo Jima after the Marines secured the Island.
99th Fighter Squadron, Tuskegee, Alabama
At the age of 22 he was responsible for training ninety African American student mechanics. He brought in a war plane, a pursuit ship called a P40. For months the crew took it apart piece by piece. They did maintenance on the landing gears, bullet-proof propellers, tanks, engines, every part. The students thought, "No way we'll ever get this back together." But they did.

"They were so proud that they finally rolled the airplane on the apron. I checked the breaks,compass, radio, power. I checked with the tower for clearance. They thought, 'no way can thatplane fly.' They were just so amazed when the pilot took the plane down to the end of the fieldand lifted off. Everybody was just in tears."—John Yurek

John's granddaughter, Jaya, interviewed him about his service, and these were his closing words:

"When we arrived home from Iwo Jima we came back to San Pedro, California and were met by the Red Cross. They had beautiful glasses of cold milk and gave each of us a candy bar.

The Air Force taught me responsibility, discipline, and that I should really live and enjoy life, because life was such a fleeting thing in war. When I saw those men in my division, I wanted to be like them, and not let them down. I wanted to do my part and act like a gentleman. Before the war, in high school, I just got by with a 'C' average. After the war I went to college and finished four years of study in three years. Without my experience and training in the Air Force, I believe I could not have done this. War was horrible. I have learned to respect other races and cultures. Maybe more importantly, I have learned to respect myself. I have learned to value life and not take it for granted." —John Yurek
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Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Mass

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Starts at 9:00 am (Eastern time)

St. Patrick Catholic Church

512 N Main St, Wellington, OH 44090

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