Reginald W. French
November 2, 1919 – February 11, 2020
Reginald Wayne “Bo” French, passed away peacefully, age 100, February 11, 2020.
He was born Nov 2, 1919 the fourth of six children to Wayne E. French and Annie E. (Newbill) French in Trezevant, TN. He left home in his teens to join the Civilian Conservation Corps. He was promoted to a staff supply / quartermaster position, and was assigned first to camps in upstate Tennessee and then to Corvallis, OR. Returning east to Cleveland, Ohio, he worked a night time supervisory position at White Motor Company, from where he decided to sign up for the Army Air Corp.
After retirement from the Tactical Air Command in 1969, Bo and his wife Nell came to Sarasota to be close to his family, most of whom by then had migrated to the Florida west coast. He enjoyed a career as a real estate agent for US Home where he was Salesman of the Quarter numerous times and Salesman of the Year in 1971. Following that stint, he began accruing and building his own residential property and became a self-employed landlord and rental agent. Mostly, though, he began to follow his true avocation and play more golf. He had taken up and learned the sport at the famous Broadmoor Country Club while flight training in early 1940’s Colorado Springs, and played as much as possible for the remainder of his life.
Bo had once said he most wanted to be remembered as a golfer. He played to scratch during the 70’s, and “close to scratch” for a number of years after that. He ran a “game” twice a week at Forest Lakes Country Club for 15 or so fellow golf addicts, sometimes betting as much as 25 cents a side, or, on wilder days, playing a 25 cent skins game. This group hung together with few drop outs and replacements for 30 years. Following that, he switched over to Village Green Golf Club where he joined up with Hal’s Pals and enjoyed that company until forced to finally stop with hip issues.
Like many of his generation, Bo did not care much for speaking of his past, but in later years his family came to know that he had been a reconnaissance pilot (5th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron) flying P-38’s and F-5A’s over Europe, advancing directly behind the front lines from Tunisia to numerous air fields in Sicily and mainland Italy, and finally to Corsica. He was shot down in August of 1944 while supporting the allied advance in France, and spent the next 8 months in captivity - Stalag Luft III and then VII-A. Escaping from the latter, he and a buddy were able to find their way back to US lines just before end of war in Europe. He had written a letter to his mother while in camp - “I think I’ve really done it this time”.
He is survived by his wife of 74 years, Nell, a sister, Pat Puskas, son Steve French, daughter, Kandy Donnelly, 3 grand-children; Eric Donnelly (Lauren), Erin Reese (Andrew) and Kate Anderson (Jeff), 4 great-granddaughters Etta and Faye Anderson and Ryan and Kiera Donnelly and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and respective spouses in Sarasota and surrounding counties. Bo very much was proud of and cared deeply for his entire extended family. He never missed a family gathering that we can remember.
A Visitation will be Tuesday, February 18, 2020 at Robert Toale and Sons Funeral Home-Wiegand Chapel, 7454 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, 34231 from 11:30 - 12:30 followed by Procession to National Cemetery with Ceremony at 1:30. This will be followed by a reception at Kandy’s home.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations to The Pines of Sarasota, The Gardens, 1501 N Orange Ave., Sarasota, FL 34236, Attn: Janet Ginn.
He will be missed. RIP Bo
Reginald W. French
11:00 am - 12:30 pm
Robert Toale and Sons Funeral Home - Wiegand Chapel
7454 S TAMIAMI TRL
Reginald W. French
1:30 pm - 2:00 pm
Sarasota National Cemetery
9810 State Road 72