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Tuskegee Airman Harry W. Leavell dies at 95

Tuskegee Airman Harry W. Leavell died late last month at age 95.

He was 23 when he volunteered to join the United States Army Air Corps as a fighter pilot. He served his country from 1943-46 as one of the famed Tuskegee Airmen. He achieved the rank of first sergeant, according to the United States Library of Congress Veteran History Project, which further stated:

"Leavell's aspirations to become a fighter pilot in World War II were dashed by personal setbacks. He trained at Tuskegee, the legendary school that produced the famed eponymous airmen, noting how important Col. Benjamin O. Davis and his West-Point bred code of honor were for the men's morale. Leavell lost both of his parents to natural causes early in his military career, and he admits he also lost his zeal for flying. But he became an engineer and served an important support role in the Pacific Theater. He also saw firsthand many incidents of subtle and overt racism designed to hold back his colleagues."

The native of Richmond died May 31 in his hometown. He earned a bachelor's degree in psychology from Earlham College and had worked as a therapist, served as a firefighter and was a business owner and historian in the Richmond area, according to his obituary.

He is survived by five children; 14 grandchildren; 6 great-grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren in addition to a host of other relatives and friends, according to his obituary. He was preceded in death by his wife, Dolores Alexander Leavell.

Funeral visitation is 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Community Family Funeral Home, 101 W. Main St., Richmond. Services are noon Friday at the funeral home. Burial will follow at Earlham Cemetery with military honors provided by the Wayne County Honor Guard.

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