VERONA — Alfred Parkin, age 92, of Old Oneida Road passed away peacefully early Saturday morning April 28, 2012 in the Faxton-St. Luke’s Healthcare Center with his loving granddaughter at his side.
He was born on February 28, 1920 in Utica, New York a son of the late John and Minnie (Wardale) Parkin and was a graduate of Westmoreland Central School.
Alfred enlisted into the Army Air Corps in the summer of 1941, where he was trained as an aircraft mechanic and became a crew chief on North American AT-6 trainers in South Carolina. When he achieved the rank of sergeant, he was eligible to go to flight school under the Flying Sergeants Program. He applied and was assigned to glider training. He learned to fly light aircraft in Wisconsin, and made his first solo flight in a TaylorcraftL-2. He next went to dead stick school in Colorado, learning to land light aircraft with the engine shut off.
His next station was Wickenburg, Arizona where he logged many hours in TG-3 gliders until the program was phased out.
Having earned his wings he was qualified for fighter training where he flew Boeing Stearman PT-17s and graduated to VulteeBT-13s. Unable to become proficient at night navigation he washed out, but was determined to be part of the war effort, and entered the 8th Air Force Bomber Corps. Because he was a mechanic and had flight training he was assigned as a flight engineer and top turret gunner. After completing gunnery school in Death Valley he was assigned to a bomber crew in Florida where they flew a B-17 flying classroom that trained flight navigators.
In early 1945 his crew was deployed to England and they ferried their B-17G across the Atlantic via Reykjavik, Iceland. He remained in England until after VE day and then was recalled to states. He was honorably discharged from service a few months after VJ Day.
On August 27, 1949, Al and Mary Albrecht were united in marriage in Transfiguration Church of Rome and shared that loving union of nearly fifty-nine years together until Mary’s death on August 6, 2008.
Prior to his retirement in 1975 Al was employed as a stationary engineer with the Rome Developmental Center.
He was a member of Our Lady of Good Counsel Church of Verona.
Surviving are five sons and two daughters-in-law, Daniel and Sage Parkin of Vienna, Timothy and Dianne Parkin of North Benton, Ohio, Michael Parkin of Vienna, Eric Parkin of Parish and William Parkin of Vienna; two daughters and one son-in-law, Linda and John Shay of Purling, NY, and Anita Peters of Oneida, seventeen grandchildren, thirteen great-grandchildren; as well as several nieces, nephews and several special friends. A special thank you goes to Terry and Marylee Oliver, Rita Riley, and Georgianna Durant and a special acknowledgement goes to his Oneida YMCA family. Al was predeceased by his wife Mary and brother John.