Richard Warren Kerlikoske, born February 22, 1921 passed away September 14, 2015.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 59 years, Anne Kathrina Poulsen Kerlikoske; mother, Marjorie Alice Spence; step-father, Harvey Alvin Spence; father, Richard P. Kerlikoske and sister-in-law, Gertude Poulsen Young.
He is survived by his niece, Anne Kathrina Poulsen Cox, Mary Marcia Poulsen Cole, Elizabeth Rebecca Poulsen Gilbreath; nephew, Robert Houston Young, Jr.; brother-in-law, John HaNS Poulsen, Jr and sister-in-law, Oneida Wingfield Moore Poulsen.
Richard joined the Army Air Corp in 1942 as a cadet and received his pilot wings at Craig Air Force Base in Selma, Alabama in February of 1943. After a stint as an instructor pilot, he transferred to McDill Field, Tampa, Florida. There he trained to fly the B-17 Bomber as First Pilot. From there, he and his crew picked up a new B-17 at Savanna, Georgia and preceded on the northern route over The Atlantic to Greenland, Iceland and on to England to join the 8th Air Force 452nd bomb group.
He and his crew flew 17 missions over Europe. Heavy anti-aircraft fire and enemy fighter planes were frequently encountered. On one mission, one engine was completely disabled and part of a propeller on another was blown away. Under these adverse conditions, with only two engines functioning, he was able to bring his plane and crew safely back to England. For this notable achievement, and other actions in general, he received the Distinguished Flying Cross and two air medals. After the war, he flew his plane and crew back to the United States, where his tail gunner kissed the ground and vowed he would never fly again unLESS Lt. Kerlikoske was at the control. The tail gunman never flew again, after the war, Lt. Kerlikoske remained in the Air Force Reserve and retired as Lieutenant Colonel.
In civilian life, he was employed by The Florida Power and Light Company, where he became manager of The Sarasota Florida District. He was the president of the Civitan Education Foundation, Member of The Chamber of Commerce, The Industrial Development Council, The Electrical Council of Florida, President of Civitan Club, President of The Florida Section of The Illuminating Engineering Society, a board member of Barrett Banks, President of University Club, member of the Salvation Army as well as serving on the board of Sarasota Yacht Club.
Graveside services will be Wednesday, September 16, 2015 at 2:00 p.m. in New Live Oak Cemetery with Rev. Steve Burton officiating and Lawrence Brown-Service Funeral Home directing.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that you make memorial contributions to Cornerstone Presbyterian Church; 301 Broad St, Selma, AL 36701.
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