Memorial Service, Our Tribute of Honor to Flight Officer Claiborne [Junior] Wilson

The funeral for C. Junior Wilson was held at the Workman Funeral Home in Perry, Iowa, August 14, 1945. Here is the eulogy by the pastor, Rev. Dr. J. B. Ackman of the Methodist Church:

Mom (Doris) and Darlene were Junior’s sisters. Once Mom mentioned that Darlene’s son Bob had thumbs like the Wilson brothers. This photo reminded me of that comment.

We are all mourners today, because of a life of practical goodness and the service of a model flight officer in the armed forces of the United State Army Air Service [sic] has so suddenly come to an end. The loving son of Mr. and Mrs. C. D. Wilson, who was highly esteemed by those who knew him best, with his open hand, his frank cordiality, his clear insight, and his resolute will, has passed from our sight but never from our memories. The empty place in the house can only be filled by Him Who is the Way, the Truth and the Life, and Who said, “I will not leave you comfortless.” We all pray that He may be very near. May God’s comfort and rest be our stay in these days of unexpected sadness and loss. And our deep sympathies go out to the members and friends of the family circle in bereavement.

Claiborne J. Wilson, Jr. [sic] was born July 6th, 1925, at Dexter. He received his early education at the Dexter schools, and later he graduated from the Washington Township High School. After his graduation he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Service. He was inducted into the U.S. Army October 24th, 1943.

He did not go at the President's Call,
Just for himself alone.
He went at the call of democracy
And to protect loved ones at home.

Some of us are Americans by birth; some of us are Americans by adoption. But whichever we are, we say with justifiable pride, “I AM AN AMERICAN”.  And that means something! It meant something to Flight Officer Claiborne Wilson. And it certainly means something to the Wilson family. Five sons in the service and one son-in-law certainly means something to one family circle, and two sons missing in action, Lt. Dale Wilson, in the Pacific Theater of war, and Lt. Daniel Wilson in Austria, in Europe; and the youngest son has made the supreme sacrifice in connection with an accident while the planes were in formation, at Aloe Field, Victoria Texas.

Claiborne Willson [sic] is esteemed because of what he was and stood for and what he achieved in his endeavors. He is spoken of as a man who was interested in the finer things in life. He kept himself clean, was cooperative and companionable. His comrades speak of him as a model soldier. He was an American who believed in the responsibility of privilege. What he asked for himself he was willing to give to others! What he wanted of others he was willing to give himself. His creed was no “Live and let live,” but “Live and help live”, even if this means the giving of your life. He cultivated a high type of team spirit.

Now he has gone from us, but never from our memory. He leaves to mourn his early departure, his father and mother, four brothers: Dale, Daniel, Delbert and Donald, all in the armed services, as well as two sisters: Mrs. Warren D. Neal, living with her parents while her husband is away in the service; and Mrs. Alvin Scar of Earlham, his grandmother Mrs. Laura Goff of Omaha, Neb., as well as many other relatives and a great host of friends.

Some morning I shall rise from sleep,
When all the barracks are still and dark.
I shall steal down and find my ship
By the dim Aloe Fields, and embark,

Nor fear the deserts nor any wind.
I have known fear, but now no more.
The winds shall bear me safe and kind,
To that field we all hope for.

To no strange country shall I come,
But to mine own delightful land,
With Love to bid me welcome home
And Love to lead me by the hand.

Love, you and I shall cling together,
And look long in each other's eyes.
There shall be rose and violet weather
Under the tree of Paradise.

We shall now hear the ticking of the clock,
Nor the swift rustle of Time's wings,
Nor dread the sharp dividing shock
Being come now to immortal things.

They will not end in a thousand years.
Love, we shall be so long together
Without any bombs or fear,
Glad in the rose and violet weather.

With all those wonders to admire,
And the heart's hunger satisfied,
Given at last the heart's desire
We shall forget we ever died.


I don’t know who wrote the “rose and violet weather” poem, but since it names Aloe Fields, Lt. Ralph Woods may have brought it from the chaplain who asked if he’d accompany his friend’s casket to Iowa. The eulogy does capture some of who Junior Wilson was.

Junior was the first in the family buried at the Violet Hill Cemetery in Perry, Iowa. August 14, 1945.

From Leora’s Letters: The Story of Love and Loss for an Iowa Family During World War II.


  1. Claiborne was shown to be an honorable young man and his eulogy beautifully befitting. It was tragic for mankind to to lose someone with his integrity so young. Thank you, Joy, for sharing this sad event in your family’s history so that we may not forget his sacrifice.

    • Thank you, Nancy. He was one of three brothers lost during the war. The two other brothers were still Missing in Action when Junior was killed. Their folks received no other information about them until January of 1946 that the death of one had officially been declared (he’s never been found) and that the other was KIA the February before when his plane was lost in Austria.

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