7/23/1920 – 11/4/2018
George A. Middleton passed away unexpectedly but peacefully on November 4, 2018 at the age of 98. He was surrounded by the love and prayers of his family and friends. He began his life’s journey on July 20,1923 in Snohomish Washington. Born to Lillie May (Humphries) and George Alexander Middleton, he was the youngest child and only boy, and completely spoiled by his three older sisters.
As a young man, George lived in Pasadena, California where he met his future bride Madelyn (Marny) Munn from Carpinteria. He volunteered for the US Army Air Corps in 1942 with hopes of becoming a pilot. George and Madelyn were engaged on Valentine’s Day 1943 and married in Corsicana, Texas June 26, 1943, where he was completing flight school. He received his wings and promotion to second lieutenant as a fighter pilot in December 1943. The following May he boarded a liberty ship to England where he was assigned to the 352nd Fighter Group, 328th Fighter Squadron based in Bodney, England. After a short time he was assigned his own plane: a P51D Mustang, nicknamed Worra Bird, which he flew throughout the duration of the war. His first mission was on D-Day, June 6, 1944, as part of a wall of fighter aircraft to shield invading ground forces from attack. He continued to provide ground support days after the invasion, until moving on to provide escort for B-24 bombers. He wrote in his diary on July 21: “Munich. Winds aloft change on return and blew us out over the North Sea. No radio contact. In sight of land but ready to bail out. Landed at RAF field out of gas. Lost seven planes and three pilots.”
He flew 85 missions, always praising his ground crew for keeping his plane well-maintained and ready to fly. When asked about flying so many missions he would say “I was flying. I was getting a job done. There was never any real stress.” He was honored for his service with the Distinguished Flying Cross, and the Air Medal, as well as several campaign ribbons and medals including the Korean Service Medal, WWII European/African Campaign, and WWII Victory Medal.
After the war George wanted to continue his service and re-entered the Air Force in 1947. He was stationed in Japan, at NORAD and AF bases around the country until he retired in 1963 as a Major. After his military retirement, he settled in Carpinteria in 1964 with Marny and their three children: Michael, Cathy and Margie. He worked for General Telephone (now Verizon) until his retirement in 1983. He enjoyed a long, happy retirement with Marny, celebrating 73 years of marriage in 2016. They traveled around the country many times and overseas to Armenia and Russia to visit their daughter Cathy and her family. He worked hard to provide a loving, safe home for Marny and his children and their friends. He enjoyed reading and discussing mysteries and historical novels which continued throughout his life. He was truly a gentleman, kind and humble, but above all else a patriot and hero who loved his country and family unconditionally.
George was predeceased by Marny in 2016 and his son Michael in 2012. He is survived by his devoted daughters: Cathy and her husband Ed Kulakowski, and Margie. He is also survived by his loving grandchildren: Bryan Middleton and his wife Carin, Tanya Menoni and her husband Alec, and Chris Kulakowski and his wife Jennifer. His legacy also lives on in his great-grandchildren: Michael, Matthew, Rebecca, and Ripley Middleton; Liam and Isla Menoni; Landon, Fiona, and his newest great-granddaughter, Genevieve Kulakowski. Blue skies forever, Dad/PopPop/Gramps.
Over the years, George had many devoted caregivers; none more so than his daughter Margie, who dedicated herself over the last two years to help take care of him. We offer special thanks to his other caregivers: Luis, Rosaleen, Camilla, and Dusty for their love and support. We would also like to thank the nurses and staff at Cottage Hospital especially Spencer (SICU) and Dr. Eric Trautwein; doctors and staff at Sansum Clinic, especially Dr. Victoria, Laura and Cheyenne; and also Dr. John Marsh, Marilyn and Joyce. You were instrumental in helping him continue to thrive and enjoy his long, healthy retirement.
George will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors at a later date. In lieu of flowers, he would be pleased if you donated to Paralyzed Veterans of America, Wounded Warriors, or Fisher House in his memory.
“Without you there would be no me.
I am everything reflected in your eyes.
I am everything approved by your smile.
I am everything born of your guidance.
I am me only because of you.”
––Richelle E. Goodrich
2 Timothy 4:7-8
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the
Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me
but also to all who have loved his appearing.
High Flight (excerpt)
Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
...Up, up the long delirious burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace,
Where never lark, or even eagle, flew;
And, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
––John Gillespie Magee, Jr. (1922-1941)