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Thurlow Thompson Weir

Thurlow Thompson Weir

Male 1924 - 2015  (90 years)

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  • Name Thurlow Thompson Weir  [1
    Gender Male 
    Born 27 July 1924  Champaign, Champaign Co., Illinois, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    CMS Member # 1007 
    Submitter 1007 
    Obituary THURLOW THOMPSON WEIR II Longtime local dentist Thurlow T. Weir died peacefully at home on Friday, July 10, in the company of family and his three cats. Even days shy of 91 he was in no real hurry to depart. He would have liked to stay longer. Yet he appreciated that his was a fortunate and full life. Thurlow Thompson Weir II was born on July 27, 1924 in Champaign, Illinois to Dr. Thurlow T. and Mrs. Lillian B. (Moffat) Weir. His paternal grandfather, father, and various uncles were either medical doctors or dentists, though ministers occasionally sprouted on the family tree. His maternal grandfather operated the Moffat Coal Company in Sparta, Illinois into the 1950s. The family moved to Southern California during the Great Depression, after his father's unexpected death. During the early years of World War II Thurlow graduated from Torrance High and started at UCLA. He left college to become a pilot with the U.S. Army Air Corps, flying a B-24 Liberator for the "Forgotten Fifteenth" (15th Air Force, 776 and 779 Bomb Squadrons, 464 Bomb Group). These "daring airmen who crippled Hitler's war machine," in the words of war historian Barrett Tillman, attacked the main oil refineries and fuel depots that powered the Third Reich. Stationed at the Pantanella base in Southern Italy, Thurlow flew - and survived to tell about - bombing attacks in Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and other destinations within reach of the Mediterranean. He participated in the final run on the Ploesti refineries in Romania, a strategic target described by Winston Churchill as "the taproot of German might." In later years Thurlow would be noted for his fiscal conservatism. Yet the need to ignore the relentless stress of war led to pilot hijinks that carried some costs for taxpayers. On one occasion, he and his flight crew spent hours aloft in subfreezing altitudes stirring up ice cream in a galvanized garbage can, starting with black-market milk and fruit cocktail liberated from the mess. (Smaller containers would be better, Thurlow concluded.) Another time he bet a fellow pilot $5 that he could land successfully three times in a row running on just two engines - a wager he won, but barely. His betters never got wind of such stunts, apparently, because generals and other brass often tapped him to fly them to Egypt and other choice R&R destinations. As a young man Thurlow considered his World War II service the most meaningful period of his life. Later he came to value time spent with family and friends as life's true adventure. After UCLA Thurlow married Harriett Hixson, who he met while washing dishes in the Tri Delta sorority house on campus. She taught school at Hunter's Point to put him through the College of Physicians and Surgeons in San Francisco, now the University of the Pacific Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry, where he received his Doctor of Dental Surgery. He started his practice in Torrance. In 1955 the young family moved to Chico, where Thurlow had taken his basic flight training. Thurlow suddenly became the father of six, including four daughters, when he married Patricia Machris on September 27, 1974. He made sure his daughters were fully able to look after themselves. As one prepared for a trip in a new car, for example, Thurlow insisted she prove she could change a flat. "So he came over and I had to change the tire. Not just talk and point my way through the process, but actually loosen the lug nuts, jack up the car, remove the tire, put on the spare, put the lug nuts back on, drop the car, and tighten the lug nuts. Then I had to do it all again, of course, to put the regular tire back on." Thurlow pursued many other vocations and avocations - distributing Falstaff beer, growing almonds, breeding Arabian horses, sailing the Pacific, delivering motor homes to Alaska, and partnering in a fixed-base aircraft operation and dealership at Chico Municipal Airport. He and Pat lived happily in Butte Creek Canyon and then in Forest Ranch for almost 40 years. Thurlow was preceded in death by his parents, wife Pat, and sons Thurlow T. III and David Alan, both veterans. He is survived by his sister Helen Schultz of Torrance and brother James Weir of Chico and their families, in addition to those four daughters: Kim Weir of Paradise, Carol (Randy) Legg of Chico, Melanie Weir (Robert Hancock) of Orange, and Robin Machris (Andy Nodzak) of Paradise. He also leaves behind three beloved grandchildren, Jackie Landay of Sacramento and Tyler and Kaitlin Legg of Chico. Thurlow will be interred with Pat in the Forest Ranch Cemetery, with arrangements through Brusie Funeral Home. A private celebration of his life is planned for late August. The family suggests memorial contributions to the Chico Cat Coalition or Honor Flight Northern California. Copies of Thurlow's book, A Young Man's Journey Through World War II, are available at the Chico Air Museum. All proceeds support the museum.

    Published in Chico Enterprise-Record on Aug. 5, 2015  [2
    Died 10 July 2015  Forest Ranch, Butte Co., California, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [2
    Person ID I36243  Clan Moffat Genealogy
    Last Modified 22 February 2016 

    Father Thurlow Thompson Weir,   b. 7 May 1895, Sparta, Randolph Co., Illinois, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Mother Lillian Burdelle Moffat,   b. 1 December 1896, Percy, Randolph Co., Illinois, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 6 September 1995, Chico, Butte Co., California, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 98 years) 
    Family ID F12713  Family Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family/Spouse Living 
    Family ID F12711  Family Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Photos
    Thurlow Weir 1944
    Thurlow Weir 1944
    Thurlow Thompson Weir
    Thurlow Thompson Weir

  • Sources 
    1. [S1] Original Moffat GEDCOM File, Robert and Frances Moffitt.

    2. [S2660] Obituary for Thurlow T Weir, published on website

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