Edward Joseph Komyati
July 20, 1921 – January 6, 2021
Komyati, Edward Joseph, Lt. Col. USAF Ret., 99 of Ladue, flew his last mission and entered eternal life on January 6, 2021. Beloved husband for 71 years of the late Marie Claude Komyati (nee Moreau), dear father of Stephen E. Komyati (Dianne) of West Roxbury, MA and Caroline M.C. Bean (Harold) of Ladue, MO. Loving grandfather “Papa Ed” to Claire and Ariane Komyati and Alexander Bean. Edward is preceded in death by his parents, his sister Evelyn Unger (the late Gerry) and brother Joseph Komyati (the late Beatrice). Edward was a graduate of the University of Maryland where he earned his BA and the University of Southern California where he received a master’s degree in Education.
Edward was born in Cleveland, Ohio and learned to fly at an early age. When he was growing up in Cleveland, he attended the national Air races where he saw Amelia Earhart fly her red plywood Lockheed plane. At the outbreak of WWII, he entered the Army Air Corps Cadet Aviation Program. Upon graduation from Victorville, CA his first assignment was to ferry planes with the Air Transport Command out of Long Beach CA Airfield delivering aircraft from the factory to operational bases around the US and overseas. Late in 1943 he was sent to the Pacific theater to deliver planes. In early 1944 he was assigned to fly “the Hump” in the China, Burma and India “CBI” Theater and stationed in Tezpur, Assam valley of India. The mission of the CBI was to transport fuel and cargo needed to support National Chinese allied forces and the USAAF based in China. The air route over the treacherous Himalayan mountains was the only way to keep the Chinese supplied as the Japanese blocked the Burma Road. Edward flew 13 missions before a monsoon caused his plane, a Consolidated C-87 Liberator Express, to go down over Burma in July 1944. He was the copilot and sole survivor of his four-man crew. After spending several days alone in the jungle, he was rescued by the search and rescue team led by Capt. John L. “Blackie” Porter III, also known as “Blackies Gang”. A man of faith, Edward strongly believed the good lord was looking out for him that fateful day in July. At the end of the war, he went to Europe with the Air Transport Corps and met the love of his life Marie Claude while stationed in France.
During his 23 years of active-duty service, he and Marie were stationed in England, Germany, France, Greece, Italy, and stateside in Washington DC, North Carolina, Florida, and Delaware. Following retirement and a few years working in the Medical Equipment field he rejoined the department of the Air Force as a civilian. As a civilian, he worked in disaster preparedness at Ramstein AFB Germany and as program manager, management analyst and cost analyst at Richards Gebaur AFB Missouri and Scott AFB Illinois. In the early 1990s, Edward transferred to the Headquarters Standard Systems Group as a financial management cost analyst in Maxwell AFB-Gunther Annex in Montgomery, Alabama where he worked until his retirement in 1997.
In retirement, he enjoyed traveling with his beloved Marie, and spending summers in their home in France with friends and family. Early in his retirement, he organized yearly tours to China for fellow aviation enthusiasts to visit the war memorials dedicated to the brave men and women who supported the mission of the CBI. A keen aviation historian, his love for airplanes was equaled only by his love for vintage automobiles.
A proud member of the greatest generation, Edward was a wonderful husband, father, and grandfather. He had the biggest smile and never knew a stranger. His greatest joy was spending time with his family and his pets. He loved spoiling his beloved dogs, Muffy and Pomme. He taught us to be optimistic and kind, and to be thankful for every day we are here on this earth. Affectionately known as “Gusto” for his indefatigable spirit and courage, he will be sorely missed.
Edward’s family would like to extend a special thank you and appreciation to his doctors Dr. Donald Skor, of WU Clinical Associate, Dr. Alan Zajarias WU Cardiology, and their staff, for the excellent care they provided over the years. The family would also like to thank his caregivers Terri Brimmer, Barbara Smith, and Sheila Walker for their friendship and TLC of “Papa Ed”.
Donations to honor Edward’s memory can be made to the Greater St. Louis Honor Flight gslhonorflight.org, the Air Force Museum Foundation afmuseum.com or an animal charity of your choice. Funeral services will be private due to current restrictions. A celebration of Edward’s life will be held this July.