Theodore “Ted” Lumpkin, one of the famed Tuskegee Airmen of World War II, died Dec. 26 from COVID-19. He was 100.
Lumpkin, a Los Angeles native, died at a hospital in the city, the Los Angeles Times reported.
After graduating in two years from Los Angeles City College, Lumpkin was in his senior year at UCLA in July 1942 when he was drafted.
He was assigned to Tuskegee Army Air Field in Alabama, where he trained with the nation’s first Black military pilots.
Lumpkin was an intelligence officer, serving in Italy from February 1944 through VE Day. He was a member of the 100th Fighter Squadron, part of the 332nd Fighter Group.
After the war, Lumpkin worked several jobs in the Los Angeles area, including as a social worker and a real estate broker. His family knew he served in the war, but he didn’t bother to mention that he was one of the famous flyers.
“He didn’t talk about it much. He’d maybe mention some incident or a buddy, but we were married for a number of years until I heard about them,” his wife, Georgia, told the L.A. Times. “When I realized who these guys were and what they’d done, I was just overcome at how much they persevered.”
However, Lumpkin was often in touch with other members of the historic group, serving on the boards of Tuskegee Airmen Inc. and the Tuskegee Airmen Scholarship Foundation.
He’s survived by his wife, three children and several grandchildren.