ALBANY -- The funeral service for Major Dovie B. Syfrett, Jr., (USAF, retired) will be held at 11 AM Tuesday in the sanctuary of Albany First United Methodist Church with Rev. Dr. Don Adams and Rev. Carrie Myers officiating. Interment will follow in the mausoleum at Crown Hill Cemetery. Mr. Syfrett was 88 years old. He died peacefully on Saturday, September 10, 2011 and is now with June, his beloved wife of 61 years.
Mr. Syfrett was born November 15, 1922, in Rowesville, SC, the eldest of two children of Dovie B., Sr. and Gussie Way Dukes Syfrett. He graduated from Rowesville School and then entered Clemson College in the ROTC program. As with so many of his generation, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor curtailed his college education and he volunteered for the U.S. Army Air Corps, gaining his commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in September, 1944.
After earning his wings and training in B-17 bombers, Lt. Syfrett was transferred to the new B-29 Superfortress, which he flew in the China-Burma-India and Pacific theaters for the remainder of World War II, except for cargo flights "flying the hump" (over the Himalayans) from India to new air fields in China. In the Pacific Theater he flew numerous missions over Japan in his plane, "Lassie, Too", from West Field on Tinian, and on September 2, 1945 he participated in the flyover of the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay as Japan formally surrendered. Dovie occasionally told the story about the ferry flight back to the U.S. when the pilot, a superior officer, decided to fly the B-29 under the Golden Gate Bridge! He always disavowed any involvement in that decision.
He was next stationed at Roswell Army AFB, Roswell, NM as a flight instructor, where he was sometimes allowed to fly small groups of nurses and other military personnel to March Field at Riverside, CA, for weekend furlough. It was on one such trip that he met his future bride, June Elizabeth Erwin. She was working in a bank in Riverside when they met on March 8, 1946, and after a brief, long-distance courtship, they were married at the Mission Inn in Riverside on May 17, 1946. Within a few months Dovie was transferred to Rhine Mein, Germany where he was a communications officer. June joined him there 6 months later, and they were able to visit many places throughout Germany, Switzerland and France before returning to the US. Assignments at San Angelo, TX, Washington, D.C. and Formosa (Taiwan) followed. In 1955, Captain Syfrett was selected to join the Strategic Air Command (SAC) and he was initially stationed at Loring AFB, Limestone, ME. While at Loring, he piloted the B-36 "Peacemaker" and B-52 "Stratofortress" bombers. Life in SAC was tough, but Dovie enjoyed the Air Force life and was promoted to the rank of Major.
In July 1959, Dovie piloted one of the first four B-52's of the 4138th Strategic Wing that landed at Turner AFB in Albany, GA. The family moved to Albany where Dovie finished his military career in June 1964, retiring from the U. S. Air Force as a Command Pilot with over 20 years active duty service. He soon began a second career onboard MCLB Albany in the engineering section of the Repair Division where he spent another 20 years in service to his country.
Dovie was active in his family, his church and his community. After retirement from the Air Force he had more time to participate in varied activities such as Boy Scouts, where he was a Scoutmaster (Troop 8); the Hasan Shrine Masonic Lodge (33o Scottish Rite Mason) where he was a member of the horse patrol in the mid-1960s; fishing trips to Ft. Gaines with the boys; active in the Georgia Republican Party; a particularly memorable month spent on a sliver of property along the Nantahala River in North Carolina in the summer of 1964, and many other events and activities. He loved woodworking, though he never seemed to find time to do much with it. He spent hours tending his yard, making sure all the shrubs and grass got plenty of water. He was always a perfectionist in everything he did - perhaps his engineering background coming out.
Dovie was a long-time member of the Fellowship Sunday School Class at First United Methodist Church. He served on the Church Council and as an usher, serving as Head Usher for many years. Most importantly, Dovie supported June throughout her working career, especially after he retired the second time and she went into the real estate business, and always supported his two sons, who are very proud of their dad.
He is survived by his sons, D. Bryant Syfrett, III, and Stephen S. Syfrett and his wife Debbie; four grandchildren, D. B. Syfrett, IV, Scott Syfrett, Cassie Syfrett and Caitlin Syfrett, all of Albany, plus a nephew and niece and their families in the Orangeburg, SC area.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial contributions be made to First United Methodist Church, 307 Flint Ave., Albany, GA 31701.
The family will receive friends in the sanctuary of First United Methodist one hour prior to the memorial service. You may sign the online guestbook and share your special thoughts and memories with the family of Mr. Syfrett by visiting Kimbrell-Stern's website at www.kimbrellstern.com.
Kimbrell-Stern Funeral Directors