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William Floyd Schrimsher

October 6, 2017
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William F. “Bill” Schrimsher of Sautee Nacoochee, passed away at home on Thursday, October 5, 2017, following a brief illness.  He was 89. 

Bill was born August 18, 1928, in Owens Cross Roads, Alabama.  He was the youngest child of the late Paul and Lucrecia Moore Schrimsher, also of Owens Cross Roads.  He was preceded in death not only by his parents, but three older siblings, brother, Paul Schrimsher; and sisters, Beryl Schrimsher Parker and Margaret Schrimsher Davis; and his loving wife of 58 years, Joyce Ledford Schrimsher. 

Bill is survived by his son, Mike Schrimsher of Darien; daughter and son-in-law Gae Schrimsher Stovall and Ike Stovall of Sautee Nacoochee;  grandchildren, Michael  and Jeanna Schrimsher, of Calhoun; and William Schrimsher, of Darien; as well as cousins, nieces and nephews from northwest Georgia and north central Alabama.  

Raised on a north Alabama farm and surrounded by a hard-working, but humorous family, Bill became fascinated with aviation as a boy.  He learned to fly at the age of 14, soloed when he turned 15, and had his pilot’s license by the time he was 16.  Eventually, Bill would pilot many types of airplanes, but his favorites were the J-3 Piper Cub’s and Aeronca Champ’s of his youth.  After graduating from New Hope High School, he attended Georgia Tech, but soon deferred his college studies to pursue his love of flying.  Bill enlisted in the U.S. Air Force Officer training program and received his full commission in August of 1952.  This program allowed him to graduate several years later from Florida State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in History. 

Bill first flew combat missions in North Korea, as part of the 4th Fighter-Interceptor Wing, tucking his 6’3” frame into the cockpit of an F-86 “Sabre” jet.  He flew an RB-66 Destroyer over the skies of Europe while stationed in France in the mid 1960’s and during the Vietnam War.   Among his medals and military decorations is the Distinguished Flying Cross, awarded to him as a Second Lieutenant for shooting down a Russian MiG-15 in Korea.  The June, 29, 1953 “Times” magazine article entitled “The Cats of MIG Alley” chronicles these missions and is the source of the photograph used in this obituary.  Aside from flying, Bill served as Air Operations Officer, Base Operations Officer, Pilot Instructor and Flight Commander.  He retired as a Lieutenant Colonel, after 30 years of service.  

In 1954, while stationed at Moody Air Force Base in Valdosta, Bill met and later married Joyce Ledford, a high school teacher originally from Gainesville, Ga.   Life in the Air Force took the couple, along with their children, Mike and Gae, to towns and bases on three continents and several states here in America.  After retiring from military life, Bill and Joyce lived on St. Simon’s Island for more than a decade.  They enjoyed traveling and family, and Bill delighted in his hobbies of fishing, golf, grilling great BBQ, and listening to classical music, a life-long joy.  In 1992, Bill and Joyce returned to north Georgia, building a home in Habersham County, where he remained after Joyce’s death in 2011. 

Bill will be interred in the Nacoochee United Methodist Church Cemetery columbarium in Sautee Nacoochee, next to his beloved Joyce.   A private service with military honors is planned, to mark the life and passing of this truly remarkable man.   Bill is at peace, but will be greatly missed by all who knew him.  The Schrimsher family would like to express their deep gratitude to extended family, friends, and neighbors for their love and support during this time, but especially while Bill lived.  He enjoyed sharing life and laughter with you all.   


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