Edwin J. Rawlings, 92, of Springfield, died at 12:25 am, Monday, April 13, 2015 at St. John’s Hospital. Ed was born February 25, 1923 in Jacksonville, to Edwin J. Rawlings, Sr. and Belvia Hicks Rawlings. At age 5, along with three brothers and a sister, he was placed in the Odd Fellows Orphan’s Home in Lincoln. Residing there until age 18. He married Valencia L. Bartolomucci in 1948, and she preceded him in death on December 28, 2014.
Also preceding Mr. Rawlings in death were his parents; one son, Dennis W. Rawlings; a sister, Edith Rawlings Roloff; two brothers, Richard Rawlings and Robert Rawlings.
Ed graduated from Lincoln Community High School in 1942. He entered the military service on June 19, 1942 and served in the US Marine Corps. Primary Flight Training, as a Cadet, began in early 1943. After Advance training at Pensacola, FL, he received his commission as 2nd Lieutenant and completed “Dive Bomber” training at Jacksonville, FL and El Toro Marine Air Station.
In February 1944 Ed was assigned to the 1st Marine Air Wing and in May 1944 was engaged in combat in the South Pacific. He completed 64 combat missions in the Solomon, New Britain and Philippine campaigns from 1944-1945. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and four air Medals and fourteen campaign citations.
After discharge in 1946, Ed was assigned to the Marine Corps Reserve from 1946-1949, transferring to the 170th Fighter Squadron, Springfield, in July 1949. He was re-called to active duty in 1956 for the Korean War and 1961 during the Berlin Crisis, returning to the 183rd Fighter Wing where he established the nickname of “Deck Ape”. He served as Senior Flight Commander and the Stan/Eval Intelligence Evaluator. He retired in 1972 as Lieutenant Colonel with thirty years of service in the Armed Forces of the United States, twenty-two years being in the Illinois Air National Guard.
Ed worked for the Illinois Bell Telephone Company as a communications serviceman for thirty seven years retiring in 1983.
He was a member of the First United Methodist Church, Telephone Pioneers, Elk Lodge #158, Retired Officer Association, American Legion Post 32, Blue Ridge Club and the Air Force Association. He enjoyed golfing, boating and fishing.
He is survived by his son, David E. Rawlings (Cecelia “Cissy”) of Palatine; daughter, Danna M. (James) Elliott of Springfield; grandson, Jay M. Bliefnick of Omaha, NE; brother, Frank E. (Doris) Rawlings of Springfield and several nieces and nephews.
Visitation: 4-7 pm, Friday, April 17, 2015 at Staab Funeral Home.
Funeral Service: 11 am, Saturday, April 18, 2015 at Staab Funeral Home with Reverend Nicole Cox officiating. Burial will follow at Calvary Cemetery where military honors will be conducted by the Sangamon County Interveterans Burial Detail and the United States Air Force.
Memorial contributions may be made to Sangamon County Inter Veterans Burial Detail, 2108 Palo Alto Drive, Springfield, IL 62711 or to Land of Lincoln Honor Flight, 57 Country Place, Springfield, IL 62703.
Date: Friday, April 17, 2015
Time: 04:00 pm - 07:00 pm
Date: Saturday, April 18, 2015
Time: 11:00 am
Date: Saturday, April 18, 2015
Memorial contributions may be made to Inter Veterans Burial Detail, 2108 Palo Alto Drive, Springfield, IL 62711 or to Land of Lincoln Honor Flight, 57 County Place, Springfield, IL 62703.
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