FUNERAL SERVICE for Mr. William S. Surcey will be held 11 AM, Saturday, May 14, 2011 at St. Paul A.M.E. Church, with Dr. Marvin C. Zanders, II, Pastor, officiating.
Mr. Surcey, age 92, passed away peacefully May 6, 2011. A Jacksonville native, he attended local public schools. Mr. Surcey was employed with the U. S. Postal Service as a Supervisor until he retired after many years of dedicated service. He was a member at St. Paul A.M.E. Church. Other affiliations include member of various organizations including Tuskegee Airmen, Tuskegee Alumni Assoc.-Jacksonville Chapter, Boy Scouts of America, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., and American Legion Post # 197.
His daughter, Melody Surcey and brother, Waymon Surcey, predeceased him. Survivors include his wife of 62 years, Mrs. Future T. Surcey; daughters, Ms. Renee Surcey and Ms. Katherine Surcey; sisters-in-law, Mrs. Marilyn Surcey and Mrs. Alma T. Knowles (Horace); devoted cousins, Roy Drake and Mrs. Rosa Collins; a number of other relatives and friends.
Mr. Surcey will rest in the mortuary for visitation Friday from 5 PM until 7 PM( where the family will received friends at 5 PM) and Saturday at the church from 9 AM until the hour of service. Fraternal Rites will begin at 7 PM Friday. Interment will be in Restlawn Memorial Park Cemetery. Friends are asked to assemble at the church under the direction of ALPHONSO WEST MORTUARY, INC., 4409 Soutel Dr. 904-766-9671. Please Sign the Guestbook @
BOB SELF/The Times-Union
Retired Air Force Maj. Trent Johnson salutes William Surcey upon presentation of the Congressional Gold Medal in April 2009 to Surcey, a member of the Tuskegee Airmen.
William Stockton Surcey of Jacksonville didn't receive his long-overdue honor for being part of an elite group of airmen in World War II until six decades had passed. But the Congressional Gold Medal was finally presented to the Tuskegee airman in 2009, long after the nation's first all-black unit in the Army Air Corps disbanded.
Mr. Surcey died May 6 of a heart attack and stroke. He was 92.
The World War II veteran never talked about his time as a Tuskegee Airman, said daughter Katherine Surcey. She learned about it just before a 1995 film on the African-American air corps came out.
"It wasn't until they got ready to do the movie on the Tuskegee Airmen and people were calling and checking the facts and I asked why," she said. "He said, 'Because I was one,' and it just blew me away. He said, 'It was just a job. I served my country and did what I was supposed to do.'"
The Jacksonville native graduated from the Old Stanton High School in 1939 and was in his second year at Tuskegee University in Alabama when he enlisted in the Army Air Corps. After six months of training as an aircraft mechanic, Mr. Surcey was assigned to the Tuskegee Army Air Field.
"We were the first to occupy the field," he said in a 2007 interview with the Times-Union. "... We found out we could do everything that was necessary to fly and maintain aircraft for combat."
His squadron fought in the 1944 invasion of Italy. He supervised and completed major repairs on seven P-40 aircraft in a week during the fighting and earned a Bronze Star for distinguished service.
Discharged as a master sergeant in 1945, Mr. Surcey finished his studies at Tuskegee University.
He met his wife, Future, at a school football game after he threw peanut shells at her to get her attention. She said she chased him away, but he came back and promised not to bother her again.
He worked as an aircraft mechanic at Jacksonville Naval Air Station, then spent 27 years with the U.S. Postal Service. He also ran an air-conditioning and refrigeration repair business until he retired at 87.
"He was an impressive person who accomplished a lot but always maintained a quiet demeanor," his daughter said. "A friend recently put on Facebook that she will always think of him as the perfect Southern gentleman, and I said, 'Gosh, that says it all.'"
Mr. Surcey is also survived by another daughter, Renee, also of Jacksonville. A third daughter, Melody, died in 1990.
The viewing is scheduled for 5 to 7 p.m. today at the Alphonso West Mortuary, 4409 Soutel Drive, Jacksonville. The funeral is at 11 a.m. Saturday at St. Paul AME Church, 6910 New Kings Road, with burial to follow at Restlawn Memorial Park, 2600 Ribault Scenic Drive.
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