Roy Sousley, Jr.

Friday, March 26, 2010
Roy Sousley, Jr.

Roy J. Sousley, Jr., Colonel, USAF retired, age 90, died at his home in Boise, Idaho, on Saturday, March 20, 2010.

Roy was born in Pembroke, Kent., on Feb. 8, 1920, the only child of Roy J. Sousley, Sr. and Melissa Cathrine Hail. At the age of 5, his father moved the family to Ocean Springs, Miss., where Roy spent his childhood until he graduated from high school and attended college at Mississippi State and Mississippi Southern Universities, studying electrical engineering and education.

At the age of 21, being guided by faith and a deep patriot spirit to protect our country, Roy entered the US Army Air Corps Aviation Cadet Officer Training program, graduating and being commissioned as a second lieutenant.

He bravely served as squadron commander in the 437th Airborne Troop Carrier Group during WWII, piloting B-15 fighter planes over Normandy, Rome, Southern France, Germany and Central Europe. Later, he served in combat in the Korean and Vietnam wars. After losing most of his hearing as a result of flying, he served in executive command positions at Mountain Home AFB, Idaho, Takhli Royal Thai Airbase, Thailand, Westover AFB, Mass., Whiteman AFB, Mo., and Fairchild AFB, Wash., where he retired from the Air Force in 1971.

During his military career, Roy logged more than 7,000 accident-free air miles and earned many commendations and medals, including the Air Medal in WWII, Bronze Star, Airman's Medal for heroism in Thailand, the Meritorious Service Medal and Air Force Commendation Medals as executive officer at Whiteman AFB and base commander at Mountain Home AFB.

Following the war, while stationed at Lackland AFB, San Antonio, Texas, Roy met the love of his life, Helen Rigler, an Army Nurse at Brook General Hospital, Ft. Sam Houston. They were married there four months later on Jan. 12, 1947.

Roy and Helen were blessed with three daughters, Suzanne, Cynthia and Melissa.

During 30 years of Air Force life, the family had the great fortune of visiting many famous landmarks in the US and Europe.

In 1974, after Roy received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Boise State University, he and Helen built their dream log home in Donnelly on the shores of Lake Cascade. They enjoyed summers in Donnelly and as snowbirds wintering in Arizona and Mexico, wearing out four Airstream trailers.

No matter where Roy was stationed or lived, he practiced his love of golf, hunting and fishing. He perfected the art of "the old man and the sea," hauling in huge fish alone in his tiny aluminum boat in the waters off the Mexican Baja peninsula up until four years ago. He never got tired of showing off photos of his trophies or making wonderful snacks and margaritas for their friends.

Roy loved hosting his children, grandchildren, guests and friends wherever he was, greeting everyone with a hearty southern, "How'do!"

BSU football and Masonic and Shrine activities were also Royıs passions. He was a member of El Karabah Temple, Shreveport, La.; Payette Lodge 91, AF & AM; a 32nd Degree member of Boise Valley Scottish Rite, El Korah Temple Greeters and Camelherders, and a charter member of High Country Shrine, Cascade, Mountain Home Shrine Club, the Boise Valley Retired Officers' Association and a member of the Boise State University Alumni Association.

Roy was preceded in death by his parents, Roy and Cathrine Sousley, and his beloved wife of 63 years, Helen Rigler Sousley, who recently died on Nov. 17, 2009.

He is survived by daughters, Suzanne (David) Evans, Donnelly, Idaho and Kaneohe, Hawaii; Cynthia (Charles) King, Boise, Idaho; Melissa (Stephen) Flaherty, Spokane, Wash.; grandchildren, Cristin King; Cory (Alexa) King; Carolyn (Robert) Park; Brooke Evans; Brett (Lisa) Evans; Patrick (Janelle) Flaherty; Shannon Flaherty; and Erin Flaherty; and six great-grandsons, Aaron, Chase, Andrew and Cole King, and Geoffrey and Charles Park, all of whom loved him dearly.

A visitation was held at Summers Funeral Home, Boise Chapel, on Wednesday, March 24, with funeral services at on Thursday, March 25, at First Presbyterian Church, 950 W. State St., Boise, followed immediately by burial with military honors at the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery and a reception at the El Korah Shrine Temple.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations in Royıs name to the El Korah Temple Patient Travel Fund, 1118 W. Idaho St., Boise, ID 83702, or the American Heart Association.

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