COMMENTS & NOTES
KEN LEMMONS WAS ONE OF THE FIRST CREW CHIEFS ASSIGNED TO THE 100TH.---IN CHARGE OF "PICADILLY LILY", "MASON-DIXON", "She has-ta" ,"King Bee",AND "BOEING BELLE". RECALLED DURING THE KOREAN WAR AND HANDLED F-86S.
Kenneth A. Lemmons, 81
Loving husband, father, grandpa, great-grandpa, brother, uncle and God-loving man
ROCKFORD -- Kenneth Allison Lemmons, 81, of Rockford died in his home Friday morning, Dec. 17, 2004, after a lengthy struggle with COPD. Born Dec. 29, 1922, to Arch Clayton and Hassel Allison Lemmons in northeast Arkansas; the second of four children. After clearing land, farming and learning the mechanical trade from general farm work, Ken volunteered for the military on Dec. 15, just after Pearl Harbor. His brother, Cleatus had already received his draft notice. After training, Ken married his childhood sweetheart, Fonda Ragan and in 1943 shipped out for England where he spent 1943-45 at Thorpe-Abbotts Army Air Base near Diss, East Anglia, England with the 351st Squadron, 100th Bomb Group, 8th Army Air Corps as ground chief for such notable B-17 Bombers as 'Piccadilly Lily', 'Mason and Dixon' and 'Boeing Belle', to mention a few. He was a true hero amidst a generation of heroes. Ken was the subject of a 1999 book penned by Cindy Goodman and Jan Riddling, historians of the 100th Bomb Group, named 'The Forgotten Man', his story about the unsung ground crew heroes that kept the bombers in the air day after day during World War II. He never forgot his love of this country, his devotion to his family or his faith in the Lord. Longtime member of North Park Church of Christ. His entire life was filled with giving to others and he left little room to give to himself. Moving to Rockford in the summer of 1948 with his family and in-laws in tow, Ken carved out a living working at Rockford Clutch Division of Borg-Warner from 1948 to 1963 when he again spread his wings and started a business in Memphis, Tenn. After a short year, he returned to Rockford Clutch and remained in the position of Service Manager until 1968 when he again left to seek his dream of a family business. In 1973, with $4,000 and a ton of sweat equity, he started Ken's Rebuilders Supply, selling used automotive parts to rebuilders around the country and rebuilt clutches to local repair shops. His goal was to provide a small business for his immediate family and he reached that goal retiring in 1987. The business is still in the family, employs 32 much-appreciated and loved employees, and its Board, consisting of a second and third generation of Lemmons, now manufactures clutches under the name NACD-North American Clutch and Driveline Inc. Survivors include his loving wife of 61 years, Fonda; son, Dan (Bonnie) Lemmons of Cherry Valley; daughter Michelle (Tom) Walker of Loves Park; grandsons, Derek (Angie) Lemmons of Machesney Park, Darren (Angie) Lemmons of Rockton, Ryley Walker of Loves Park; granddaughter, Raegan Walker of Loves Park; five great-grandchildren; brothers, Cleatus Lemmons of Sikeston, Mo., and Albert Lemmons of Nashville, Tenn.; beloved sister, Shirley Anne (Sam) Stansbury of Nashville, Tenn.; and numerous nieces and nephews. Predeceased by his parents. The family wishes to thank Dr. Willard Moore and his staff for all of their kindness and care. Dad loved you all. Thanks also to Dr. Kathryn Andersen and her staff, the wonderful ladies of VNA Hospice and much loved caregivers, Larisa and Aunt Jo.
Services at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 21, in North Park Church of Christ with Dan Boggs to officiate. Burial in Scandinavian Cemetery. Visitation from 5-7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 20, in Delehanty Funeral Home Ltd., 401 River Lane, Loves Park. In lieu of flowers, memorials to Helping Hands Food Pantry. 12-19-2
Kenneth Lemmons, left, and Robert Spangler - Original 100th and two of the 351st best known Maintenance Chiefs. Spangler was the Line Chief and Lemmons a Flight Chief. (100th Photo Archives)
Brothers in uniform. Cleatus Lemmons, pilot in the 401st BG on "HOMING PIGEON' and Kenneth Lemmons, flight chief in the 351st. (100th Photo Archives)
"Just Waiting" - A 351st Ground Crew await the return of their plane from a mission over Europe (100th Photo Archives)
Kenneth Lemmons, standing on the ladder by the No #2 engine at Gower Field, Boise, Idaho. (100th Photo Archives)
Kenneth Lemmons - 351st Flight Chief w/Skipper II (100th Photo Archives)
Original 100th: From left; Paul Deane, Ken Lemmons, and Rusty ? : All are part of William Carleton's 351st. Engineering Section. They were with the 100th from the Group's formation until the end of hostilities. (100th Photo Archives)
The 100th's 200 Mission Party; Facing the camera from left: Kenneth Lemmons, Johnson, Chell and Cummings. (100th Photo Archives)
351st Kenneth Lemmons, center, the other two are unidentified. (100th Photo Archives)
M/Sgt Ken Lemmons in Civilian cloths. Courtesy of Michelle Lemmons.
Photo taken before before going overseas. Photo Courtesy of Michelle Lemmons Walker
Courtesy of Michelle Lemmons Lemmons Walker. Ken Lemmons is a buck sergeant in this photo. My guess is it's early 1943 and dad is just leaving to go to England and Thorpe-Abbotts with the 100th. He came home in '45 a master sergeant. Besides, he looks younger here than in photos at TA. He and mom married in March of '43 shortly before he shipped out.
Ken Lemmons, Second from Left, front Row.
Kenneth and Fonda Lemmons. Photo courtesy of Michelle Lemmons Walker
Ken Lemmons, Air Corp. Photo Courtesy of Michelle Lemmons Walker
351st Engineering : Standing from left. William A. Carleton, (Squadron Engineering Officer) and Duncan Shoud: Kneeling from left: William Harrison - Flight Chief, Robert Spangler - Line Chief, Kenneth Lemmons - Flight Chief and Joseph Milpus - Flight Chief. (100th Photo Archives)
"SHE HASTA" Ground staff: Standing from left: G.A. Sumrall, W. Large, Schmetzer: Kneeling from left: L.D. Montgomery, Kenneth Lemmons, and D.P. Bergeron. (100th Photo Archives)
"SHE - HASTA" 351st ground crew: Standing from left: H W Jenkins and C J Killebrew: Kneeling from left: John Herrmann, Kenneth Lemmons, and Conrad. Only the last names are known of most of this ground crew. (from the collection of Bill Carleton)
Jerome S. Garrison crew: (left to right) Rear; Unknown, Kenneth Lemmons-Crew Chief, Jerome S. Garrison, Warren A. Storz, George F. Miller and William H. Andrews, Front; Unknown, Steve J. Kowalski, Unknown, E. F. Hooper, W. H. Polansky and George N. Yee. Detailed Information (100th Photo Archives)
Kneeling L to R: M/Sgt. Wylie Harrison, Flight Chief; M/Sgt. Robert Spangler, Line Chief; M/Sgt. Kenneth Lemmons, Flight Chief, M/Sgt. Joe Niehys, Flight Chief. Standing: Capt. William Carleton, Engineering Officer; Lt. Duncan Shand, CP on the Robert J. Shoens crew. (100th Photo Archives)
Back of Crew Photo
Lt James Knowles was original CP on Lt Gay Crew. He then took over the crew of Lt Batterman when he broke his arm. Pictured are
KNOWLES, James W. - CP/P
STILLER, Raymond - CP
GRAHAM, Norman S. - NAV
ZEMSKE, Arthur R. - BOM
MAY, Robert B. - TTE
FAGAN, Thomas H. - ROG
JENSEN, Reid G. - WG
HOOPER, Elmer F. - TG
LEMMONS, Ken A. Ground Crew Chief.
"PICCADILLY LILLY II" and her Ground Grew: From left: Avril Hanna, Harry Jenkins, John Herrmann, the Crew Chief, Erwing Dunkin, Kenneth Lemmons, the Flight Chief and Robert Spiller (100th Photo Archives)