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Bryan County, Oklahoma

Highland Park Cemetery
Durant, Oklahoma

Malcolm Krumme

Malcolm Krumme

April 18, 1919 ~ June 6, 2018

© Holmes-Coffey-Murray Funeral Home

Submitted by: TD

 

Malcolm Krumme a resident of Durant, Oklahoma passed from this life in Durant, Oklahoma on June 6, 2018 at the age of 99. Malcom was the son of George Edward and Bessie (Hall) Krumme. He married his beloved Grace in Albany, Georgia on August 28, 1952.

Malcolm L Krumme was born April 18, 1919 in the small rural town of Agency Missouri. After their family journeyed to South Dakota in hopes of settling there only to be met by hordes of grasshoppers, they headed back to Missouri to start farming and live off the land the best they could during The Great Depression, along with his 4 brothers, and his mom and dad. Around the age of 5, "cotton top" as he was called back then, convinced the local school principal into let him start school, where he attended until graduation with the 10 other kids in his class.

Growing up in those times when no one had any money, young Malcolm learned about trapping early on. Realizing that people would pay 25 cents apiece for a rabbit hide, and 50 cents apiece for skunk hides, he'd often carry his rifle to dispatch them from a distance as he walked or rode his horse to school, hiding it under the railroad bridge nearby.

Around the age of 9, he discovered that people would pay 25 cents for a couple of cantaloupes, (probably from his mom's garden), and the rest is history. He soon started raising his own cantaloupes and tomatoes, and quickly had enough of them to take them to town and sell them to the grocers.

Around the age of 10 his appendix burst, and the country doctor wouldn't operate on him for fear of killing him. So, Malcolm laid in bed for some time, and recovered fully to continue his journey through life. We've always wondered if that's what made him so tough, or he was already tough and that's what pulled him through. Either way, it worked.

By age 12, he had save enough to buy his own car, a broken-down model T Ford, for $15. He promptly hitched his horse up to it, pulled it home and fixed it, and was delivering fresh produce, and driving to school by car. Upon graduation he worked on the farm for a while before going to California briefly in a canning factory, as the clouds of war were growing, and WWII was on the horizon.

At age 21 he came back to Missouri to register for the draft with his buddies, was shortly thereafter drafted into the United States Army, and reported for basic training at Brooklyn Field in Mobile Alabama to serve in the Field Artillery Division.

After 3 days of service, the officers came around to the new inductees and asked for volunteers to a new entity they were creating called the "Army Air Corp." (Nowadays known as the US Air Force). Being mechanically inclined, it seemed to him that being an aircraft mechanic sounded a little bit less risky than dealing with big artillery guns. His buddies thought he was crazy and urged him not to do it. But Malcolm trusted his instinct, and joined the 8th Army Air Corp, and would end up working on such planes as B-17's, B-24's, B-25's, B-66's, A-20's, P-38's, P-47's, and P-51's during the course of WWII all across the European theater.

There at Brooklyn Field, he attended aircraft engine school and trained for the daunting task that lay before them. Once, while on a top-secret recon mission to a local movie theater in Mobile, the lights came on, they stopped the movie, and announced the Japanese had just bombed Pearl Harbor, and everyone was to report back to the base. His mission was so covert, not even his superiors knew about it, (ie they had no pass to get back on base), and he and his secret squad had to get back on the locked down base via an improvised entrance they dug at the back fence, in the sandy soil, thus making it back to their barracks undiscovered.

Upon deployment, they were shipped to New York, where they boarded passenger ships diverted to use as troop transports and set sail for Europe. Soon after their launch, while fighting constant seasickness, they were soon chased by a German submarine, and had to enter the shallower waters of Nova Scotia to avoid being sunk. US Navy destroyers showed up, and quickly dispatched the Germans, by quickly sending their sub to the bottom of the ocean.

Upon landing in Shawncy Wales, they disembarked, and their "green" commanding officer ordered the several hundred men in his group to line up in formation out on the open field for instructions. The commanding officer was promptly and sternly informed by the British Commander that forming large groups in open areas was not a very bright idea due to the fact there were German planes trolling overhead looking for easy targets below.

Malcolm worked in a detail of 7-10 guys in a mobile group that traveled primarily around England to repair aircraft as they were needed. He spent most of his time at the Burtonwood Air Depot, and Squires Gate and Stanley Park in Blackpool England. He often noted that no matter how desperate the condition of the war was, the British pilots always stopped at 3 pm and had their tea, something the US troops thought was crazy.

While in Britain, he was deployed to Ireland, to help the Irish defend their country by building an airbase there. The US commander noted the local workers "less than ambitious attitude" towards work, and keen attraction to also sipping tea, and instructed the Irish to sit on the perimeter and sip their tea, while the Americans quickly built their Air Base for them.

Always there to help, he again personally volunteered for several covert missions to Belfast, often escorting the local RAF girls to and from local social gatherings. Back then, the prevailing attitude towards American GIs overseas was, "They're over paid, over sexed, and over here", so Malcolm wisely chose to travel in a small group.

Once while escorting a group of these young ladies, he was tailed by a group of Irish sailors, and upon overhearing their plans to give him a thrashing, he quickly brandished a large piece of picket fence, and confronted them, just in time for the Irish sailors to be rescued by nearby US MP's.

As the war was winding down, he was deployed to Belgium to work in the 390th Fighter Squadron as a crew chief to work on the B-66 bomber named "The Flying Bumblebee". Their division later received a group Presidential citation for their service.

Upon discharge, he came home to Missouri, joined his surviving brothers for a brief celebration, went to college at KU, graduated with an engineering degree, and was immediately recruited by General Motors to work in their Allison Aircraft Engine Division as a tech rep with the Air Force and traveled worldwide. If there was a problem, or when planes with Allison engines on them went down, he was there to help find out what went wrong, and he was very good at it.

Malcolm's family and numerous friends are very proud of him, and what he did to help make this world a better place for generations to come. He, and the rest of his generation, "The Greatest Generation", risked and or gave all, and came home to pick up where they left off: to go back to work, raise families, and build a great country to live in, asking only this in return: to be left alone, go about their lives and enjoy the freedom that Americans so love and enjoy. We owe him and others of his generation thanks for who they were and what they did.

Mr. Krumme is survived by his children, Valeria Garrett of Durant, Oklahoma and Don Krumme of Durant, Oklahoma; grandchildren, Meagan Garrett French of Mead, Oklahoma, Adam Edward Garrett of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and Evan Miller Krumme Garrett of Norman, Oklahoma; and Great-grandchildren, Kane Edward French of Mead, Oklahoma and Londyn Kael Valeria French of Mead, Oklahoma.

Mr. Krumme was preceded in death by his parents, George and Bessie Krumme; cherished wife, Grace Valeria (Exum) Krumme; four brothers; and great-grandchild, Gracelyn Valeria Ann French.

Family hour will be from 3-4:00 PM Sunday June 10th at the Holmes~Coffey~Murray Funeral Home in Durant, Oklahoma. A church service will be at 2:00 Monday June 11th at the 1st United Methodist Church in Durant, with Rev. John Breon officiating. Burial will be at the Highland Cemetery. The pallbearers will be Adam Garrett, Evan Garrett, Gary Hughes, Marshall Hughes, John Krumme, and Don Krumme.

Services are under the direction of Holmes~Coffey~Murray Funeral Home in Durant, Oklahoma www.holmescoffeymurray.com

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