Mr. Byron Lanier Bland, 88, of Georgetown, died Thursday, Jan. 10.
Visitation for friends and family will be held Saturday, Jan. 12, at First Presbyterian Church at 10 a.m., prior to a service at 11 a.m. A private family graveside service will follow. The Rev. Shawn Hevener will officiate. Chapman Funeral Home will direct.
Mr. Bland was born Sept. 29, 1924, in Georgetown, to the late Byron L. Bland and Margaret Wood Bland. The family moved to Eufaula in 1926. He attended Miss Bessie Hayles’ kindergarten and entered the Eufaula City School system in second grade.
He was graduated from Eufaula High School in 1942. He attended Alabama Polytechnic Institute (Auburn University) for three quarters and was drafted into the U.S. Army Air Corps for service in World War II. His basic training was at St. Petersburg, Fla. He graduated as a bombardier in Midland, Texas.
Mr. Bland spent nine months during World War II serving as a Second Lieutenant with the 8th Air Force, 288 Bombardment Group, 560 Squadron in Knettishall, England.
Mr. Bland completed 14 combat missions over Germany and one mission dropping food over Holland.
After the Armistice in Europe, Mr. Bland took part in a sight-seeing mission over war-torn France and Germany planned for the airmen that maintained the operational capabilities of the B-17 bombers (The Flying Fortress).
He was assigned as a bombardier to a new crew on a B-24 preparing to serve in the Pacific Theater when Japan surrendered.
Mr. Bland was discharged from the Army Air Corps on his 21st birthday in Sioux Falls, S.D.
Mr. Bland married Bettie Ann Hotaling (Bland) from Bogota, N.J. and they returned to Auburn University where he was a member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity and Alpha Zeta, the honorary Agriculture Fraternity.
In 1949, Bland received a BS in Agricultural Engineering. After one year of graduate study and teaching, Mr. Bland and family returned to the Eufaula area. He was a partner with his brother, Hugh Wood Bland, in an agricultural supplier company, Bland & Sons started by their father.
Mr. Bland raised Black Angus cattle and grew peanuts and corn on the family farm in Quitman County. He also supplied custom hay baling and combining for local farmers.
Preserving his timberland for deer and turkeys was Mr. Bland’s avocation. He enjoyed the outdoors with his family: pheasant hunting in North Dakota, tuna fishing on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, and red snapper fishing in Panama City and watching the turkeys and deer on his land.
Mr. Bland was a faithful member of the First Presbyterian Church of Eufaula for over 65 years. He served as founder and leader of The Pioneers, an elementary school age group, Sunday school teacher of the Adult Fellowship Class, Superintendent of the Sunday School, Deacon, Elder, and Clerk of the Session.
Mr. Bland belonged to the Georgia Farm Bureau, National and Barbour County Wild Turkey Federation, the National Rifle Association, and served on the Board of Directors of Pataula E.M.C.
Byron Bland was a true family man. He showed his devotion to his family in many loving words and deeds.
Survivors include his loving wife of 67 years, Bettie H. Bland and his two sons, Byron Lanier Bland III and his wife Lissy of Palo Alto, Calif., James Stewart Bland and his wife Susie of Annapolis, Md., grandchildren James Stewart Bland II of Ocean View, Del. and his wife Jen and great grand daughter Hailey, Robert Lanier Bland and Byron Ward Bland of Annapolis, Md., Loren Lanier Bland of San Francisco, Calif., and Julia Ann Bland of New York City.
Honorary pallbearers are members of the Men’s Club of the First Presbyterian Church, Eufaula.
Memorial may be given in lieu of flowers to the Living Waters Fund of the First Presbyterian Church, Eufaula.
Sign the online guestbook for Mr. Bland at www.eufaulatribune.com.