Harold James Debenham
December 20, 1924 – May 19, 2020
We celebrate the passing of Harold James Debenham, as he glides smoothly into the heavens to meet his maker, his loved ones, and his family members who will be there to welcome him into their celestial home.
Harold passed away into his eternal home on May 19, 2020. He was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, December 20, 1924, to Harold Larter Debenham and Nellie Draisey (Atkinson) Debenham. He had three sisters: Luana, Beverly and Nellie Jean, and two brothers: Everett and Steven. He is survived by his beloved wife Lois Lorraine (Bradley) Debenham, sister Nellie Jean Staten, 7 children: Hadd Patrick Debenham and his wife Kathie, Terry Kay Debenham, Shauna Dawn (Debenham) and husband William Conant, Steven Craig Debenham and wife Debi, Holly Brooke (Debenham) Gould, stepdaughter Teresa Lorraine Todd-Smith and husband Kevin Smith, and stepson Mark Allen Todd and wife Janet. Harold was blessed with 22 grandchildren and 42 great grandchildren.
Harold graduated from Granite High School, in Salt Lake City, Utah in the class of 1943. He then enlisted as an Aviation Cadet in the Army Air Corps. His military service included World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. After graduating from pilot school class 44K, he was further trained as an Aircraft Performance Engineer. Harold obtained the rank of Master Sergeant while serving 8 years as a Flight Engineer on B-29 aircraft. During the Korean War, he was called as a 2nd Lt and transferred to Yokota AFB, Japan, where he served as the Aircraft Performance Engineer for the 98th Bomb Wing. He was part of the briefing team for all bomber flights departing from Japan. The team briefed the crews on the takeoff order, the takeoff time, the route to follow, the target, the enemy installations, the ground fire locations (flak), the weather in route, the enemy fighter locations, and the alternate air fields, in case of aircraft damage. Harold was responsible for calculating fuel loads, bomb loads, airspeed, power settings and flight altitudes that the B-29 formation was to maintain. This briefing team had the honor of briefing the last bomber flight in the Korean War. The Armistice was signed on July 27, 1953.
After returning to the USA, Harold was assigned to the 325th Bomb Squadron 92nd Bomb Wing, Fairchild AFB, in Spokane, Washington. He was assigned as a crew member of a B-36 crew and later a B-52 crew. He retired at Castle AFB, in California, June 1, 1966, as a Major, an instructor pilot, and B-52 Aircraft Commander. His medals and awards include: the Bronze Star, the Air Medal with one Oak Leaf cluster, the WWII Victory Medal, the Air Force Commendation Medal, and the Korean Service Medal. Harold completed the requirements for a Bachelor of Education, with honors, in the class of 1968 at Eastern Washington College. He taught Industrial Art, Metal Shop, Electronics, Drafting, and Drivers Education, at East Valley High School, from 1968 to 1986. He also developed the Driver’s Education Program for the Plummer Worley School District. His dedication as a teacher was unparalleled.
Harold and Lois together build their home on Coeur d’Alene Lake, Cottonwood Bay, Idaho where they entertained family and friends until they sold the home on the lake, and moved to the Spokane Valley in 1999. Harold served as a Counselor to three Branch Presidents in the Plummer Branch of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He also pursued his passion for documenting the genealogy of his family line and was a dedicated Family History Consultant for 35 years. This stoic, build-anything man will be incredibly missed.
Burial will be at the Washington State Veteran’s Cemetery, in Medical Lake, Washington. Memorial service is pending.
No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
Harold James Debenham
May 25, 2020
To the family of Harold Debenham, please know my thoughts are with you all. I send prayers of comfort and strength during this difficult time. While growing up in Spokane Valley, I had the wonderful fortune of having "Mr.D" as my teacher and my driving instructor. He was the "best man" ever for the job! I've never forgotten one aftermoon during "drivers ed" one of the students in our car wasn't feeling well. Just when our class was almost over, Mr D jumped into the drivers seat and took us all to the "A &W" for hamburgers & rootbeer! I'm sure this was not in the "book of rules" back then, however it was the most kind, generous, thoughtful gesture ever! You see, one or two students in our drivers car would rarely ever get such an extravagant outing!
Mr. D make a huge impact on so many students. When you say his name our faces just *light up". I am writing this with my sisters and brother in mind. Thank you for leaving such a "big footprint". Rest in peace our friend.
The Williams family,
Kim, Charlie, Cindy, Heidi
May 24, 2020
Lois, I am so sorry to read of Deb's passing. It readily comes to mind, the many gatherings our family had at you place at the lake. You and Deb were such gracious hosts.
Please accept my condolences for your loss. I hope Dianne and Deb can get reacquainted on the other side. They can share their love for family history work. They have hundreds if not thousands of grateful family members to greet them, as well.
All my love, Sam
May 24, 2020
Lois & Family,
I will always remember Deb as the best family history "go to person". He was passionate about finding information & making sure it was accurate. I learned many "tricks" of doing my own family history from him.
He had such a good sense of humor & enjoyed people. He will be missed by so many of us. Bless your family with peace & love in this time of sorrow.
Kenn & Marcia Priebe
May 24, 2020
We were saddened to know of Harold’s passing this past week. We will miss him and greatly value the friendship and association we have had with both of you over these past many years.
Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
May 21, 2020
Hi Lois, I just learned of “Deb’s” passing. He was such a good and kind man. ....although he certainly got frustrated with my lack of “getting it” when it came to family history during our Sunday School class!
It was an honor to be his/your home teacher and ministering brother for a short period of time. I always felt his love and affection, as well as yours every time I was able to pay you a visit. I just loved having Deb point out where to prune or what to dig out...I almost think he let me help him, just so that I would feel like I was of use and fulfilling my duty.
I never did get up to see his train setup (heard it was awesome!) but I did see many of his wood shop creations around the house as well his completed puzzles adorning the walls of your home. (How many were there?). He was a “doer” and “goer”!
Lois, I am sure that you miss and will continue to miss your smiling “sidekick” dearly as the years go on. What a wonderful promise to know that when you meet again that his aches and pains....and even his hearing will be restored....as he holds you once again. You and your family are in our prayers as you say farewell for a period of time....in anticipation of an fantastic, glorious reunion. All my love, Gary Quick