Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877

Delbert Eugene Gregory

June 10, 1923 – July 31, 2021

 

August 12, 2021

Delbert was mercifully released from his pain as he crossed the Great Divide at 10:46 PM on July 31. He battled congestive heart failure for six years and fought hard until the end.

On a marginal wheat farm between Winona and Revere in Southwest Whitman County, Delbert was born the sixth of seven siblings – born to Charles R. Gregory and Pearl Johnson Gregory on June 10, 1923. Shortly after his father passed of pneumonia, in 1928 Delbert, his mother and siblings moved to Oakesdale. Oakesdale remained Delbert's home until 2016 when he and his wife, Nina moved to assisted living in Spokane where they recently celebrated their 76th anniversary.

As Delbert grew in Oakesdale he took interest in football, basketball, gardening, hunting, fishing, and eventually Nina Lee Littleton. Delbert and Nina were betrothed before he served in the Army Air Corps and when he returned from the Asia-Pacific Theatre they married April 1, 1945 – yes, April Fools had remained a source of humor for years to follow.

While Delbert fought for our nation in World War II he served aboard two C-47 combat cargo carriers. The first was shot down by Imperial Forces. Delbert and his fellow crew members struggled but returned to friendly lines – the craft was destroyed, but the crew survived. Delbert flew 236 missions over the Himalayas and Naga Hills; and was awarded the Air Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters, the Asiatic-Pacific Service ribbon with two Bronze Stars, and the Distinguished Flying Cross with three Oak Leaf Clusters.

Delbert worked as maintenance man and head custodian for the Oakesdale School District for 37 years and Nina worked as bus driver and assistant custodian for 26 years. It was a family love to keep the school functional, clean, and beautiful. Each year Delbert would use his cherished garden to bring colorful accents to a neatly manicured schoolgrounds.

Delbert's siblings preceded him in death. He is survived by Nina, his children Chris Gregory (Kathy), Cheney, Christy Gregory (Diane), Birch Bay, Deon Logan (Gary), Birch Bay; grandson Trevor Eugene Gregory (Angie), Springdale; step grandchildren Joel Logan (Rachael), Maple Ridge, B.C., Nicole Dibiasi (Jonathan), Corona, California; nine great-grandchildren, and two great-great-grandchildren.

The family suggests memorial gifts to Horizon Hospice, 608 East Holland Ave, Spokane, WA 99218 or Inland Northwest Honor Flight, inwhonorflight.org)

 

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