Graveside services with Masonic Rites for Dr. James Gandy, age 92, of Brownwood, will be held at 2 p.m. Friday, March 8, 2013, in Gandy Cemetery near Thrifty. Burial will follow under the direction of Netherton Funeral Home and Cremations. A procession will leave from the funeral home at 1:15.
Dr. Gandy passed away peacefully at his home on Wednesday, March 6, 2013.
James D. Gandy, DVM and naturally called “Doc”, was born on May 10, 1920, at Cameron, Texas. He is the son of James and Zeta Nelson Gandy. Doc graduated from Milano High School in May, 1938 and spent 1939 and 1940 in the CCC. He then entered Texas A&M College for about a year before volunteering in the Army Air Corps Flying Cadet program. Upon entering active duty in November, 1941 at Ellington Field, Texas, he began his Air Corps career. Because of his language abilities, he was sent for one year to Michigan College for language training. Upon completion of this training, he was fluent in Spanish, Italian and English. In May, 1943, Doc shipped out for New Guinea in the South Pacific to serve as a photographer and gunner in photo reconnaissance. After 10 missions in B-24s he transferred to the 372nd Bomber Squadron, also flying in B-24s. Operating out of Holandia, New Guinea, he flew as a photographer and gunner on long over-water missions. His unit supported the Australian invasion of Borneo and also went on bombing raids in the Philippines. They hit convoys, land facilities and targets of opportunity. During the war, Doc flew a total of 26 missions.
Doc considered himself to be very lucky in regard to the war. On one mission, he was sitting on a stack of leaflets to be dropped on the Japanese. Anti-aircraft shrapnel penetrated the B-24 and nearly all of the stack, stopping just short of Doc’s spine and posterior. While stationed at Holandia, Doc traded with the friendly natives and acquired a small outrigger canoe. On one sailing trip, the wind blew him into an area occupied by the enemy. Luckily, friendly natives reached him before the Japs did and took him safely home. He did not get to carry out his vow never to be captured even though he had his trusty .45 pistol with him.
After the atomic bombs were dropped on Japan, Doc came home on Operation Sunset. This was a mission to return B-24s to the U.S. One third of the planes and most of the crew members did not make it on the long flight back. Again, Doc was lucky. There were 13 crew members on each plane.
Doc was discharged on December 8, 1945 at Randolph Field, Texas after 4 ˝ years of service with the rank of S Sgt. For his service, he was awarded the following: American Theater Ribbon, Asiatic Pacific Theater Ribbon with three Bronze Starts, Philippine Liberation Victory Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Air Medal with one Bronze Cluster and two Overseas Bars.
After discharge, Doc re-entered Texas A&M and graduated in 1951 as a DVM (Vet). He practiced in Killeen for 10 years and then in Brownwood until he retired from private practice in 1995. He then worked as a US Government Veterinarian for 15 years, a total of 50 years as a DVM.
Doc and Maisie Ross were married on December 17, 1949 in College Station, Texas. Together, they raised two sons and later enjoyed grandchildren and great grandchildren. They always enjoyed being with their offspring even though it was often noisy. Doc got into politics for one term on the Brownwood School Board. He enjoyed the war more than he did the politics. Doc had many good friends in the service and felt honored to have known and served with them.
He was also a 50-year member of the Brownwood Masonic Lodge 279 where he was highly thought of.
Doc leaves behind his wife of 63 years, Maisie Gandy of Brownwood; sons, William Gandy of Brownwood and James Edward Gandy and wife Judy of Lubbock; a number of grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; two sisters, Minnie Schmidt of Mason and Thelma Ruth Wade of Austin; and one brother, Jessie Gandy of Ledbetter.
He was preceded in death by his parents; and two sisters.
Friends and relatives may sign the online guest book at nethertonfuneralhome.com.