William Samuel Bean, 94, died peacefully Friday evening, Jan. 11, 2013, at his residence in Grand Prairie.
Funeral: 3 p.m. Monday, Jan. 14, at Bean-Massey-Burge Funeral Home Chapel on Dalworth Street. Visitation: 5 to 7 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 13, at Bean-Massey-Burge Funeral Home in Grand Prairie.
Born on a farm about a mile north of what was then downtown Mesquite, William came with his family in 1924 to the family farm south of Grand Prairie. He graduated from Grand Prairie High School in 1936, attended NTAC for a year, and graduated from SMU in 1947.
William entered the Army Air Corps in 1942 and was on board the ocean liner "Queen Mary" when it struck and sank the British escort cruiser "Curacao." After landing in Ireland the 82nd Fighter Group, a P-38 outfit, was sent to North Africa and eventually to Foggia, Italy, for the remainder of the war. William served most of the war on detached duty from the 95th Fighter Squadron to headquarters of the 82nd Fighter Group, which earned 11 campaign battle stars during the war. Towards the end of the war there was a sizable force of Czechoslovakian Air Force troops stationed in Foggia. Word got to the 82nd that they were very short of medicines and food supplies. William drove a truckload of supplies to the Czechs and as a result was invited to a dinner given by Marshall Vukachevich, the Czech Air Force commander. At this dinner, the Marshall took a red star pin from his cap and gave it to William. He explained that the red glass in the star was fashioned from the broken taillight of a car carrying the Nazi Area Commander, General Reinhardt Heidrich, which had been ambushed and bombed in the village of Lidicle. Heidrich suffered mortal wounds and died a few days later, and in retaliation the Nazis razed the village and killed every man, woman and child. After the war, the Czech Republic rebuilt the town.
In 1947, William began working in the oil business in Venezuela as assistant to the chief engineer. He retired from Texaco in 1983 after serving in Venezuela, Ecuador, Angola, and other countries.
The family wishes to thank the caregivers, Dora Sarpong and Diana Jackson and Faith Presbyterian Hospice.
Survivors: William is survived by sisters, Annabelle Hancock of Grand Prairie, Kathleen Moore of Arlington, Mozelle Mills and husband, George, of Farmers Branch; brother, Bruce Bean and wife, JoAnne, of Grand Prairie; his longtime lovely lady friend Ida Rincon of Maracaibo, Venezuela; seven nieces and nephews; and several grandnieces and grandnephews.