Retired Naval Commander
George K. Bomberger, 97, of Palmyra, PA, entered into his eternal rest on Monday, July 28, 2014, in Paxtonia at the home of his son and daughter-in-law, Bob and Mary, with whom he had lived for the past two years. The youngest of five children born to the late Harry and Fannie Mae (Kreider) Bomberger (along with four other siblings who did not live into childhood), George was born on Easter Sunday, April 8, 1917, in Lebanon, PA. Raised on a farm just outside of Lebanon, George had fond memories of that time in his life, intermingled with sadness at the death of his mother when he was 12. He and his three older brothers and sister attended a one room schoolhouse, Excelsior School, also known as Snitz Creek School.
His father remarried, to Margaret, and in time five half-brothers and a half-sister were added to George’s family. Many were the stories that George recounted through the years, especially late in his life, as he recalled life on the farm.
In addition to his parents, George was preceded in death by his three brothers, Herbert, Christian, and Robert and his sister, Hilda (Creager); stepmother Margaret, half-brother Donald, and half-sister Barbara; a daughter, Judy, at 6 days of age (1951); his wife Julia (Rutter) Bomberger (1970); second wife Anna (Blessing Wolfe) Bomberger (2009); and a daughter, Joan Yoder (2013).
He is survived by his immediate family: son Robert K. Bomberger and wife Mary, of Harrisburg; grandson Neil Bomberger and wife Anne Coleman, and their two sons George and Moses, of Arlington, MA; and granddaughter Chloe Bomberger, of Charlotte, NC.
Also surviving are his half-brothers Ralph, Harry, William, Eddie and their families; two sons of wife Anna, Kenny and Brian Wolfe and their families; Jim Yoder, husband of Joan; nieces/nephews and families of his brothers Herbert, Christian, and Robert and sister Hilda; and nieces Barbie, Betsy, and Mert and their families, through his wife Julia.
After graduating from Lebanon High School in 1934, George headed westward, following the lead of brother Herb and sister Hilda, and eventually started college in Las Cruzes, NM. Then just before the start of WWII he joined the Navy on May 15, 1941 in Long Beach, California.
George served in the Pacific as a Navy pilot flying off jeep carriers in the Solomon Islands in 1943, where he received the Air Medal Citation Award for “meritorious service in action” against the Japanese. In the summer and fall of 1944 he flew off the aircraft carrier USS Ben Franklin, going on numerous missions in the Bonin and Mariana Islands, Okinawa, Formosa, and the Philippines. In late October 1944 George was credited with a direct hit on a Japanese aircraft carrier, which subsequently sank, in the Battle of Leyte Gulf. For this he was awarded the Navy Cross, the highest Naval award outside of the Congressional Medal of Honor. The exploits of George and his fellow crew members of the USS Franklin are chronicled in Joseph Springer’s book “Inferno”, where the testimonies of George and other heroic men who served on that ship are recorded.
After coming home to Palmyra, George completed his B.S. degree at Lebanon Valley College in 1948 while continuing to serve in the U.S. Naval Reserves. During the Korean War, George was called up to active duty as a flight instructor in Pensacola, Florida.
Always inclined to be active and on the go, George enjoyed spending time with his family, mowing his grass and working in his yard, playing golf, attending family and Navy reunions, and sharing his later years with Anna. He enjoyed travelling and just driving about town, and he never missed an opportunity to go out for breakfast. He was a wonderful Papa to his two grandchildren and it was clearly evident even in his last years that he truly enjoyed children; little ones, great-grandchildren and others, always brought a smile to his face.
Funeral services will be held on Monday August 4, 2014 at 11:00AM from the Kreamer Funeral Home & Crematory 618 E. Main St. Annville, PA 17003. Interment with full military honors will be in the Indiantown Gap National Cemetery. Viewing will be held one hour prior to the service. A luncheon will follow the interment at the Trinity United Church of Christ, Palmyra.
George’s family particularly wishes to thank the Visiting Nurses Association (VNA) of Central PA for the wonderful care and support in helping them keep George in a home setting during his final years. The registered nurses, aides, and other staff of VNA, and most recently their Crossings Hospice program, have been invaluable and greatly appreciated. George’s family also wishes to thank Valerie Kaiser, of Specialty Home Care, for the many hours of assistance in caring for George, occupying his time with activities/games/ and friendship, and making his life more enjoyable.
Memorial contributions can be made to the VNA, Specialty Home Care, or the Trinity United Church of Christ in Palmyra.
Published in Patriot-News from July 30 to July 31, 2014
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