Loyd James “L.J.” Overfield
Services for Loyd James "L.J." Overfield, 86, were Thursday, March 16, at Davis Funeral Chapel, Leavenworth, with burial in Mount Muncie Cemetery, Lansing.
Mr. Overfield died Monday, March 13, 2006.
He was born June 11, 1918, in Lincoln, Neb., one of 17 children of Scott Westfield Overfield and Florence Bell (Hill) Overfield.
Mr. Overfield's early childhood was spent in Hiawatha before the family moved in 1925 to Leavenworth. He graduated from Leavenworth High School.
As a young man, he traveled with the circus, where he worked with a high-wire act and was featured in the spiral tower act. He joined the Fort Leavenworth Fire Department, where he became the fire chief's driver
During World War II, he became a fighter pilot, plying P-51 Mustangs and P-47 Thunderbolts over France with the 354th "Pioneer" Fighter Group. He was credited with 16 victories in aerial combat, including being the first in his group to shoot down a German jet aircraft. He was once shot down behind enemy lines and was led to safety by French partisans. His many decorations included the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air medal with 16 Oak Leaf Clusters, Silver Star and Purple Heart.
After the war, he returned briefly to the Leavenworth Fire Department before he became a fire insurance investigator for the Kansas Inspection Bureau (later ISO) from which he retired after 33 years.
He married Patti Aileen Warner on May 15, 1939, in Leavenworth. She survives of the home.
Other survivors include a daughter, Sue Houser, Lubbock, Texas; four sons, Loyd James II, Robert Scott and Dana Allen, all of Leavenworth, and Charles Nelson, Niceville, Fla.; 10 grandchildren; 13 great-grandchildren; two sisters, Maxine Dunbar and Rose Stewart, both of Leavenworth; and a brother, Nelson, Harlingen, Texas.
A son and daughter died earlier.
The family suggests memorials to American Cancer Society, sent in care of the funeral chapel, 531 Shawnee St., Leavenworth 66048.