Don Desko

DON DESKO PAUSES at the grave of Joseph Peacher in Albia’s Oakview Cemetery. Peacher died in WWII during a test run of the B-25 bomber near Kansas City. A Baltimore native, Preacher had married an Albia girl.

On Friday, April 26, Don and Lori Desko and Brett Lovett of the Kansas City area visited Oakview Cemetery in Albia to remember and honor Joseph R. Peacher.

Friday was the 77th anniversary of the only crash of a test flight of a B-25 bomber. Peacher was a radio expert for North American Aviation Company and was a member of the 5-man crew. The plane crashed shortly after takeoff from an airfield in Kansas City, Mo.

Don Desko is the founder of the B-25 History Project which has as its mission to “preserve and honor the history of the B-25 bomber and the men and women who built, flew, and maintain them; past, present, and future.”

The group has now visited the gravesites of four of the crew members of the test flight crash. The fifth member was cremated, and an actual burial site has not been found.

As the small group paid their respects and talked about the flight and their work in finding Peacher’s tombstone in Albia, Desko honored him by leaving a “challenge coin” at the site. Desko designed and created the coins to share with men and women who worked on the B-25.

Peacher’s wife Florence, a young Albia woman, remarried later and is buried in San Diego. Their young daughter Patricia has not yet been traced. The group thinks they may have found tombstones belonging to relatives of Mrs. Peacher at Oakview and will do more research on that aspect.

At the Monroe County Museum, the group found the high school graduation picture of Florence Wilson (Mrs. Peacher) and that of her possible second husband William Pharis. Museum board member Jan Crall also took the group to the Welcome Home Soldier Monument.

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