Edward Harvey Daves went "forever aloft" on May 2, 2014. He was born on October 10, 1922, in Kingsburg, Ca to Willis and Gladys (Benson) Daves. Edward, "Ted" to his family, attended Kingsburg High School, graduating in 1941. He entered Reedley College where began the Civilian Pilot Training Program, enrolling in Liaison Pilot Training after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Ed was soon called up by the US Army Air Corps, completing his flight training and receiving his "wings" at Stockton Air Force Base on December 5, 1943.
His military career began in earnest when he chose to become a B-17 "Flying Fortress" pilot. Assigned to the Eighth Air Force's 401st Bombardment Group in Deenthorpe, England, he immediately began flying combat missions over Germany. On September 28, 1944, on his eleventh mission, his bomber, the "Little Moe", was hit by flak 30,000 feet over Magdeburg, Germany. Only after all of his crew was accounted for did Ed exit his dying aircraft via the front escape hatch. He and all of his crew landed safely, but were all captured and sent to P.O.W. camps. Ed was shipped to Stalag Luft I camp in Barth, Germany, and was liberated on May 1, 1945, by the Russian Army.
Shortly after Ed returned from Europe, he married his Reedley College sweetheart, Edna Henkel, on July 28, 1945, in her hometown of Orosi, CA. He spent the next two years on active duty as a Liaison Flight Instructor, ending up teaching ground officers to fly Stearman aircraft in San Marcos, TX. In 1947, they returned to California, where both began degree programs at San Jose State College. He graduated in 1949 with a B.A. in Industrial Arts and then completed a Secondary Teaching Credential. He taught in Folsom until his father passed away in 1951, when he and Edna returned home.
They eventually settled in Fresno, where he began teaching Industrial Arts at Ft. Miller Junior High School, while simultaneously running his parents' small ranch in Kingsburg. He was the woodshop teacher at Ft. Miller, as well as commandant of the student Cadet Corps until 1973, when he transferred to Fresno High School. Ed formally retired from teaching in 1982.
Ed was a gifted wood worker and draftsman, having designed and built two homes and many beautiful pieces of furniture and cabinetry over his lifetime. He was as also an exemplary educator, a man of high principle, possessed of quiet dignity and humility, and capable of great empathy. There was a depth to him that he allowed few people to see, but which shone through in his willingness to help friends and strangers in need, and to judge each person he met with fairness and on their individual merit. He represented all of the qualities we have come to respect in the "Greatest Generation" a man of honor who devoted his entire life to country, family, and community with resolute dedication.
He was a proud member of the 401st Bomb Group Association and the Fresno American Ex-POW Club, Chapter 1, as well as an emeritus Master Mason at Las Palmas Lodge. Ed's experience as a P.O.W. in Germany was also featured in "Stories of Service" by local author Janice Stevens. As with many WWII vets, it took a long time for him to talk about what he saw and experienced in the war, but ever the teacher, he considered being asked to participate in a historical record for future generations his duty as well as a great privilege.
Ed was preceded in death by his parents; Willis and Gladys Daves, and his sister, June Moss of Windsor, CA.
He is survived by his wife Edna of Fresno; his daughter, Jill Daves-Plaunt and her husband Christian Plaunt of Fresno; a son Gregory; his niece, Dian Coleman of Windsor, CA; his nephew, Marvin Moss of Bay Point, CA; and many beloved nieces and nephews on his wife's side of the family.
Visitation will be held at Lisle Funeral Home on Thursday, May 15, 2014, from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
A Memorial Graveside Service will be held on May 16, 2014, at 11:00 a.m. at Fresno Memorial Gardens.
The family requests that donations in Ed's name be made to the Champaign Lady Restoration Project of the 401st Bomb Group Association, P.O. Box 2718, Gig Harbor, WA 98335; or to any charity of your choice that you feel would be an appropriate tribute to him.
Arrangements under the direction of Lisle Funeral Home, Fresno, CA.