Flown West: Darrel Shumard

July 9, 2019

Lieutenant Darrel Shumard, 1944

By Bill Canavan

On June 8, 2019 more than 200 people gathered to celebrate the life of Darrel Shumard at the Veteran’s Memorial Building in Santa Rosa. Many PCAM members were in attendance.

The memorial was supported by members of The Air Force Band of the Golden West and the Travis Air Force Base Honor Guard. The ceremony closed with the playing of TAPS and a P-51 fly-by with Lynn Hunt at the controls.

Darrel was a true member of The Greatest Generation. He grew up on a farm in California’s Central Valley. Soon after the start of World War II he volunteered with the US Army Air Corps and was trained as a fighter pilot. He entered combat in Europe flying a P-47.

On his 22nd combat mission he experienced a mid-air collision. He bailed out, landing behind enemy lines. He became a Prisoner Of War and was repatriated at the end of the European Conflict.

Elderly Air Force Veteran standing in front of World War II era bomber
Darrel Shumard in recent years

When Darrel returned home he found work in the construction industry, eventually starting his own concrete contracting business. By 1984 he was successful enough to retire and able to resume flying as a civilian.

He was an avid and outstanding pilot and volunteered many times with Angel Flight taking patients from outlying areas to treatment centers. He was named Angel Flight Pilot of the Year three times. He was able to maintain his flying proficiency into his 90s.

I describe Darrel as a man who always found something constructive to do. He was still doing his own oil changes until he stopped driving and sold his car.

He was one of PCAM’s greatest assets as a longtime member and volunteer.

Darrel Shumard died on April 7, 2019.

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There’s always something great going on at the Pacific Coast Air Museum. We have Open Cockpit weekends once a month,  special events throughout the year, and regular hot dog lunches. We host school field trips, special group tours, birthday parties, and family get-togethers, all among our collection of historic aircraft and educational exhibits.

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