GUMENSKI, Lawrence Valentine
Passed away on February 26, 2012 at the VA Hospital in Spokane, Washington.
He was born on his parents’ farm September 1, 1921, in Sangerfield, New York, to Stanislaw and Zuzanna Gumenski.
As a young man, he joined the Civilian Conservation Corps in Idaho.
He then joined the Army, serving from 1938 to 1941.
He was stationed in the Philippines and was also at Guam, Corregidor, Japan, and Okinawa in the Pacific.
In 1941 he joined the Air Force and saw action as a Tech Sergeant and tail gunner in the North African Theatre, Tunisia and Sardinia.
His unit was decorated by Charles DeGaulle of France.
He also was a part of the famous 17th Bomb Group under General Doolittle after the Tokyo raid.
From 1945 to 1950 he served with the 327th Bomb Squadron, and the 92nd Bomb Group.
Among the many medals he was awarded in these years were Bronze Stars for the Sicilian and Italian air offensive in Europe, a Purple Heart, the Croix de Guerre Avec Palme, a Distinguished Unit Badge, an American Theatre Medal, a WWII Victory Medal, an Army of Occupation Medal (Japan), and an American Defense Medal.
In 1951 he became a Master Sergeant.
Between 1950 and 1953 he earned the National Defense Service Medal, the Korean Service Medal, and the United Nations Service Medal, serving during the Korean War.
From 1954 to 1957 he was stationed in Germany.
He was a part of the 23rd Bombardment Squadron (SAC), and was on the very first Dream Boat RB50 surveillance plane in 1956, the earliest airborne communications reconnaissance platform in Europe.
Between 1957 and 1960 he also served in the Cuban Crisis.
He completed 62 missions in all and 22 years in the United States Air Force, with many years stationed at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington.
He then worked for Civil Service in the southwest, and for the FAA as an electronics technician, maintaining and repairing radar stations and control towers.
He loved to fly and flew his own plane for many years.
He also loved fishing, hunting, boating, and camping in the wilderness of Idaho and Washington, and exploring the deserts of the southwest.
He made his own boat, trailer, and garage to house them, and he was a genius at repairs of all kinds.
He grew a superb garden, and he loved poetry, geology, and archaeology.
Most of all, he loved his country!
His motto was: You can do anything you set your mind to do.
And he did!
He is buried at Holy Cross Cemetery.
His memorial service will be on Monday, April 23, 2012, at 10:00 a.m., at St. Peter’s Church, 3520 E. 18th in Spokane.
RSVP to Claudia Miner at 509-327-7672.
Memorial contributions in lieu of flowers can be made to Health Care for Homeless Vets, c/o John Davis, 705 West Second Ave., Spokane.
Make checks out to the Spokane VA with a memo to the HCHV in memory of Lawrence Gumenski.
HCHV also takes contributions of food and clothing.
Contributions can also be made to Save Our Wild Salmon, c/lo Sam Mace, 35 West Main Ave., Suite 200, Spokane, 99201, with a memo in memory of Lawrence Gumenski.