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Homer Schnurbusch, 98, of Cape Girardeau passed away peacefully on Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2018 at the Missouri Veterans Home in Cape Girardeau with his daughters by his side.
He was born June 30, 1920, in Perryville, Missouri, son of the late Louis and Teresa Gephardt Schnurbusch. He and Helen Marie Morgan were married Feb. 7, 1942, in Brewer, Missouri. She passed away June 5, 1999.
Homer grew up in Perryville. He started his work career at the age of 8 delivering papers and during his young teen years helped his father, who owned the City Tavern. At age 16 he went to work at a local butcher shop. At 19 he left Perryville to go to work for Curtiss-Wright, an aircraft manufacturer in St. Louis.
In February 1942, he married the love of his life, Helen Marie Morgan, just eight months before enlisting in the Army Air Corps.
Upon enlisting, Homer was stationed in Biloxi, Mississippi, going through aircraft mechanics school before transferring to a base in Texas to attend gunnery school. From there he and a friend processed their request to go to war and were assigned to the 460th Bombardment Group, 760th squadron in Italy. He was promoted to a tech-sergeant and was a flight engineer and top-turret gunner on a B-24 Liberator. He flew 45 combat missions over Germany and other Axis powers.
On Dec. 2, 1944, in a Liberator named “Ditney Hill,” he and his crew-mates were hit by flak just as they were preparing to bomb an oil refinery on the Poland-Russian border. With one engine on fire and burning gas entering the aircraft, Homer, although being wounded from the shrapnel, grabbed a fire extinguisher and put out the flames. The aircraft was unable to maintain altitude, and the pilot gave the order to bail out. Homer was rescued by Polish farmers and taken to a Russian field hospital, where he was treated for his injuries. Shrapnel from the flak had entered both legs and his right hand. From there a 55-day journey ensued, going from the field hospital to a shuttle base in Russia to Tehran, Iran, to Cairo, Egypt, before returning to his base in Italy.
Homer received orders to return to the States, where he was debriefed in Florida before a 30-day furlough. He finished his tour of duty at Scott Field and was discharged on Nov. 26, 1945. For his gallant effort on board the “Ditney Hill,” he was awarded a Silver Star, a Purple Heart with two clusters, the Air Medal with five Oak Clusters, Bronze Stars and a Presidential Citation, along with many other distinguished medals and awards.
Upon his discharge, he attended Southeast Missouri Teachers College using the GI Bill to obtain a teaching degree with a major in business. He bought an interest in Monroe Glass Co., where he worked for 25-plus years. He also worked with Max Stovall to develop several properties in and around the Cape Girardeau area.
He was a member of St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church, president of the Exchange Club, member of American Legion Post 63, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3838, the Cape Girardeau County Park Commission and the Cape Girardeau Pilots Club. He and Helen were both volunteers at the Veterans Home. Besides spending time with his family, one of his favorite hobbies was dealing in used cars. He had a small lot across from the Monroe Glass offices.
Loving survivors include three daughters, Bonnie Davis and partner, Joseph Baugh, of Kirkwood, Missouri; Susan Welker and husband, Robert, of Cape Girardeau, and Mary Aldredge and partner, Danny Reid, of Oak Ridge; a brother, Ralph Schnurbusch of Farmington, Missouri, and a son-in-law Wayne Dambach of Phoenix, Arizona.
Also surviving are three grandchildren, Leah Ancona, Reeve Davis and Savannah Aldredge, and two great-grandchildren, Eva Alvarez Davis and Roman Aldredge-Wilkens.
In addition to his parents and wife, he was preceded in death by a daughter, Ruth Ann Dambach; two brothers and two sisters.
Friends may call Wednesday from 3 to 7 p.m., with parish prayers at 6:30 p.m., at McCombs Funeral Home in Cape Girardeau and from 10 to 11 a.m. on Thursday at the funeral home.
Funeral service will be Thursday at 11 a.m. at the funeral home, with the Rev. Bob Thompson officiating.
Interment will follow in St. Mary’s Cemetery in Cape Girardeau, with full military honors.
Memorials may take the form of contributions to the Missouri Veteran Home, 2400 Veterans Memorial Dr., Cape Girardeau, MO 63701.
On-line condolence messages may be sent to the family by visiting mccombsfuneralhome.com.