Thursday, September 08, 2005

Mini bio: Robert Neil Mabry

A brief Biography of R. Neil Mabry, to whom this blog is dedicated. This is intentionally very sketchy - I hope to fill in the details in future posts.

Neil was born on May 24, 1902 in St. Elmo in Fayette County, Illinois, to Isaac Paris "Pete" Mabry and Gertie Holben. When he was a young boy, the Mabry family moved to Pana in nearby Christian County. This is where he grew to adulthood.

In 1921 he joined the Army Air Corps as an "aero mechanic". (more posts on this at a later date).

After his discharge from the Army, in 1923, he bought a blacksmith shop west of Decatur in the area called Wyckles or Hank's Corner. By the time of his marriage in 1925, he was manager of the Silver Moon Garage in Decatur (this may actually be the shop in Wyckles).

On November 26, 1925, Neil married Esther Kraus in Columbia, Illinois. They returned to Decatur, where they lived until 1929, when they moved to St. Louis, Missouri.

In St. Louis, Neil helped organize the new airline Transcontinental Air Transport (TAT), which eventually became TWA. He and Esther also ran a small grocery store next to their house, where they lived with their two daughters, Nadine and Jacqueline.

In 1941 Neil went to work for the Civil Aeronautic Adminsitration (now the FAA), inspecting privately owned aircraft, first in Santa Monica, then in Oakland, California. This was short-lived, however. After the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in December of that year, Neil was drafted into the Air Force and stationed at Wright Field in Dayton, Ohio. There he supervised a number of men in outfitting bombers to fly overseas. After the war ended in 1946, he was discharged with the rank of Major, and returned to California with his family to his job at the Oakland Airport.

Neil retired in 1966, and continued to live in San Leandro, near Oakland, until his death in 1983. His ashes are interred at Chapel of the Chimes in Hayward, California.

Posts about R. Neil Mabry
Neil Mabry: Chief Mechanic at Lambert Field for TAT and TWA

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