Just a few days away of celebrating his 101st birthday, Theodore Lumpkin Jr died of Coronavirus on December 26th, 2020.
His death was announced by his son, Ted Lumpkin III, who told the LA TIMES: “We’re carrying on his legacy, but it’s the end of an era.”
Lumpkin was drafted in 1942 and assigned to the 100th Fighter Squadron in Tuskegee, Alabama. The Tuskegee Airmen escorted bombers in Europe. His eyes weren’t good enough to become a pilot, so he served as an intelligence offer, briefing pilots about missions during his overseas combat tour in Italy.
During his time in the Military, earned his bachelor’s and master’s. degrees from University of Southern California. He met his wife, Georgia, while he was a student and got married. Later, he retired from. The Air Force Reserves as a lieutenant colonel.
After retiring from the Air Force Reserves and being a social worker and real estate broker, he became the president of the Los Angeles chapter of Tuskegee Airmen Inc. The organization’s mission is to honor the accomplishments of the Tuskegee Airmen and promote interest in aviation and science among young people. Lumpkin was also a board member with the Tuskegee Airmen Scholarship Foundation.
The Tuskegee Airmen received the highest civilian recognition in 2007 with the Congressional Gold Medal. Nearly two years later, then President Obama invited the surviving squadron members, including Lumpkin, to his inauguration.
Now, only eight original Tuskegee combat pilots and several support personnel are still alive, said Rick Sinkfield of the Tuskegee Airmen Inc, and all of them are in their 90s or older.
Lumpkin Jr. is survived by his wife, two sons, one daughter, several grandchildren and one great-grandchild.