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Blaine L. HufnagleDecember 21, 1922 ~ January 8, 2018 (age 95)
Blaine Lavere Hufnagle, 95, of Canyon, passed away in Lubbock on January 8, 2018. Services will be at 2:00 P.M. on Tuesday, January 16, 2018 at the University Church of Christ with David Lough, minister, officiating. Burial will follow in Memory Gardens Cemetery. The family will receive friends from 6:00 to 7:30 P.M. on Monday, January 15, 2018 at Brooks Chapel.
Blaine was born December 21, 1922 in Fremont, Indiana. His parents were Harold Raymond and Hazel Grace (Schaeffer) Hufnagle. Blaine grew up in Fremont, Indiana and Hillsdale, Michigan. After graduation from Fremont High School in 1940, he worked in a department store and drove a taxi in his spare time. He was drafted on February 9, 1943 along with 16 other young men from Steuben County, Indiana. Blaine was the only one of the sixteen selected to go into the Army Air Corps.
After basic training, airplane mechanics school, and gunnery school, he was assigned as a Flight Engineer and top turret gunner on B-17 bombers. Soon he was assigned to the 8th Air Force, 94th Bomb Group, 410th Squadron and stationed in Bury St. Edmonds, England.
His first bombing mission took place on May 23, 1944 – dropping bombs on rail yards at Chaumont, Haute-Marne, France. His 9th mission was on June 6, 1944 over the coastline of France. Although three missions were scheduled that day, only the first was completed because of the low clouds that made visibility almost impossible. More missions followed, 33 in all, to Belgium, France and Germany. On one mission, medical supplies, food and arms were dropped to the French Maquis. Most of the bombing missions were long ones with the crew often on oxygen for 9-10 hours at a time.
Hufnagle’s last mission was to Evreux-Fauville, France to destroy any remaining planes at the airfield and other transportation used by the Third Reich. Hufnagle was awarded the Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters and the Distinguished Flying Cross.
After returning to the States, Blaine was assigned to Amarillo Army Air Field as an instructor. There he met a West Texas girl, Fay Plaster, and he chose to stay in the Panhandle. He was officially discharged on October 12, 1945 with the rank of T/ Sgt. In 2009, he traveled with the America Supports You Texas Panhandle Honor Flight to Washington, D.C. But perhaps his greatest military honor came when he was chosen to receive the medal of Knight in the French Legion of Honor for combat action in the defense of the French people during World War II. He was awarded this medal on November 11, 2016 on the steps of the Capitol Building in Austin, Texas.
Blaine and Fay were married in September, 1946 and started farming/ranching south of Canyon, Texas. They had two children, Ron in 1948 and Kathy in 1949.
In addition to his farming and cattle, he developed an interest in saddle horses. He was a charter member of the Randall County Sheriff’s Posse, and was vice president, president and treasurer of the organization. Riding horses soon came to be a family hobby – something that Blaine, Fay, Ron and Kathy could all participate in together.
Blaine was also a member of Randall County Farm Bureau for many years, serving on the board of directors.
He became a member of the Central Church of Christ in Canyon, when he, Ron and Kathy were baptized into Christ May 21, 1963. He and his family have been faithful members of the church, now the University Church of Christ in Canyon. In January, 1979, his son Ron Hufnagle, was killed in a truck accident near Memphis, TX.
After Fay passed away in 1998, he married Billie Lou Gilbert Edlin in 2001. He retired, sold the farm and moved to the Hunsley Hills addition in Canyon. She passed away in 2005. At the time of his death, Blaine was living at Raider Ranch in Lubbock, TX.
Blaine L. Hufnagle is survived by his daughter, Dr. Kathy Volanty of Lubbock; grandsons Blaine N. Hufnagle of Austin, Brad Hufnagle and his wife Stephanie (Bain) Hufnagle of Canyon; great grandchildren Bailey, Cadie and Jara Hufnagle of Canyon, and numerous nieces and nephews living in Texas, Indiana, Michigan and Florida.
In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to Mr. Hufnagle's favorite charity - the High Plains Children's Home, P.O. Box 7448, Amarillo, TX 79114; or to the charity of your choice.