Needham, Elton R._0001

Elton Rabey Needham, 96, of Corpus Christi, Texas was called home by the Lord on August 17, 2019. He was born in Flatonia, Texas on April 12, 1923 to Rabey and Blanch McMullin Needham.  He grew up in Corpus Christi and graduated from Corpus Christi High School before joining the U. S. Army Air Corp on December 11, 1942.  While training at Wichita Falls, he met and became friends with the brother of the future love of his life, Nina Elizabeth Walker.  The couple met when her brother, Leonard, brought him home during a weekend leave.

Needham served as a waste gunner on a B17 in the 8th Air Corp, 96th Bomber Group in Great Britain. His plane was involved in a mid-air collision over Germany and crash landed March 12, 1944.  He was taken prisoner about 5 days later.  He and fellow prisoners where liberated March 2, 1945.  Before being liberated he survived what came to be known as the German Death March, where he and thousands of other POW’s marched for 86 days in below freezing conditions.  Upon his return to the states, he married Nina.  The couple had two children and were married for 74 years.  He worked for PPG Industries until the plant closed in 1978.  He was also a building contractor and later built and opened a storage facility in the Calallen area.  He and Nina became avid hunters, fishermen and skeet shooters during their many years together.

He was preceded in death by his parents; his sister, Mildred Karten; his half- brother, Louis Ashley, Jr.; and his lifelong friend and POW buddy Donnie Parker.

He is survived by his wife, Nina, of Corpus Christi; his children, Patricia Massey of San Angelo, Donnie Needham and wife Fotine of Boerne; grandchildren, Gina Webber of Tampa, Florida, Jimmy Needham and wife Kelly of Cedar Hill, David Needham and wife Samantha of Houston; great grandchildren, Desiree Webber, Jalen Parker, Lively Needham, Sophia Needham and Benjamin Needham.

Graveside Memorial Services with Full Military Honors will be conducted at 11 A.M. Friday, August 30, 2019 at the Coastal Bend State Veterans Cemetery.

Memorial gifts are requested to the POW/MIA Foundation or your favorite organization.