WARNER ROBINS -- Retired Col. Berry Segraves Jr., who flew in the Berlin airlift and piloted 56 different types of aircraft during his 27-year Air Force career, died Wednesday. He was 84.
Funeral services are set for 1 p.m. Saturday at Shirley Hills Baptist Church in Warner Robins. He will be buried Monday at Andersonville National Cemetery.
A native of Commerce, he lived in Houston County and was one of the best-known veterans in Middle Georgia. He was a veteran of the Korean and Vietnam wars. He was among those who worked to found the Museum of Aviation, and he dedicated much of his time to the museum as well as other causes during his retirement.
“He was always donating money and helping us any way he could,” said Pat Bartness, president of the Museum of Aviation Foundation. “He loved talking about history, and he loved talking about the museum.”
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Bartness said Segraves had Alzheimer’s, but he had remained active up until about a year ago. He died at Heart of Georgia Serenity Gate Hospice in Perry.
In 1948-49, Segraves flew the C-54 in the Berlin airlift, the first major test of the newly independent Air Force. He flew 142 missions in the effort to deliver supplies to West Berlin after the Soviets blockaded railway and road access to the Allied-controlled part of Berlin.
He would go on to log 13,500 hours in the B-52 Stratofortress bomber, which remains a record, according to Bartness. Segraves flew the B-52 that sits at the museum.
Bartness said Segraves was close friends with retired Brig. Gen. Robert Scott, the World War II fighter ace and author of “God is My Co-pilot” who became an integral part of the museum. Bartness said Scott, who died at age 96, probably lived longer in part because of the care Segraves provided in Scott’s later years.
Segraves was active in the Rotary Club, Boy Scouts and other organizations, and was well known for his fund-raising abilities.
“He was mainly interested in doing things for other people,” Bartness said.
To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.