Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Deaths Elsewhere

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Deaths Elsewhere

Article excerpt

Frederick R. "Fritz" Payne * A World War II fighter ace who left his mark on aviation and wartime history by shooting down six Japanese warplanes during the Battle of Guadalcanal, a bloody, months-long confrontation that helped change the course of the war, has died at age 104.

The retired Marine Corps brigadier general, who was believed to be the oldest surviving U.S. fighter ace, died on Aug. 6, 2015, at his home in California.

Hundreds had turned out to honor him on Memorial Day at the Palm Springs Air Museum, which on Tuesday confirmed his death.

"He was an extraordinary guy, and we can only hope that we can live up to his and others' example and carry on in their footsteps and remember what they did," said the museum's director, Fred Bell.

What Brig. Gen. Payne did between September and October 1942 was take to the skies in an F4F Wildcat and shoot down four Japanese bombers and two fighter planes during a crucial, months-long battle for control of the Pacific that Allied forces had launched with no clear indication they could win.

"Fritz came along at a time when we were essentially losing the war," said Bell, adding Brig. Gen. Payne and others who "stood their ground at Guadalcanal" kept the Japanese from gaining control of the Pacific Ocean from the east coast of Australia to the western United States. The battle marked a turning point in the war's Pacific theater.

Brig. Gen. Payne received the Navy Cross, silver star, Distinguished Flying Cross and other medals during a long military career.

Richard Devylder * The disability rights activist, who was born without arms or legs, knew that people meeting with him for the first time were likely to be a bit uncomfortable.

So he used it.

"It works to my advantage, my disability," Mr. Devylder said in a 2000 interview with the Los Angeles Times. "It helps people, but it puts them off guard, too. It disarms them if they are hostile. I use it any way I can."

Mr. Devylder worked at the U.S. Department of Transportation and several state agencies where he pushed for transportation and emergency preparedness reforms, has died of natural causes. He was found unresponsive at his Long Beach, Calif. …

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