Lafayette — Lt. Col. (ret.) Gerald Duane “Dewey” Scheufler died Tuesday, June 19, 2012, at Lafayette’s IU Health Hospital.
He was born June 16, 1924, in Ellinwood, Kan., to Alfred G. and Clara Dannebohm Scheufler. At Ellinwood High School, he was active in 4-H, wrestling and football. After graduation at the age of 16, Dewey worked in the oil fields for a year. He then enlisted in the U.S. Navy, and during World War II, he served as a gunner’s mate on an LST (Landing Ship Tank) in the Pacific Theater.
After World War II, he received his Bachelor of Science degree in agriculture education from Colorado State University in 1950. Dewey belonged to Sigma Nu, played guard on the CSU football team, and was selected Cadet Colonel of his Army ROTC detachment. As a sophomore, he was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant in the newly formed U.S. Air Force
On Dec. 25, 1950, he married his college sweetheart, Norma June Ellis, in Dodge City, Kan. After 58 years of marriage, she died on Nov. 4, 2009.
Lt. Scheufler completed Undergraduate Navigator Training (UNT) in Houston, and was assigned to Griffiss AFB, Rome, N.Y., where his B-29 crew flew test flights establishing the DEW radar system spanning the US-Canadian border. His crew was selected to fly for well-known journalist Edward R. Murrow over New York City to demonstrate the United States’ vulnerability to a Soviet attack. The crew held on to the cameraman as he leaned out the bomb bay door when they flew over the Empire State Building. CBS Evening News later aired this footage. Upon landing, Mr. Murrow personally thanked Lt. Scheufler and the rest of the crew.
He then served in Korea with the 90th “Pair-of-Dice” Bomb Squadron, flying B-26s in low-level combat missions behind enemy lines at night. Lt. Scheufler was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for heroism and exceptional service and the Air Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters.
Next was Donaldson AFB in Greenville, S.C., where he flew C-119s and C-124s for supply missions to polar stations. He then served as an ROTC instructor at Kansas State University. Graduate navigator instruction at Mather AFB, Sacramento, Calif., followed. Capt. Scheufler then flew B-47 strategic bombers at Davis Monthan AFB, Tucson, Ariz., until his transfer to RAF Fairford and RAF High Wycombe, England, where he was Strategic Plans Officer and was promoted to Major.
In 1965 he was transferred to the 305 Air Refueling Wing, Grissom AFB, Bunker Hill, Ind., scheduling global combat support. Major Scheufler was next named Nuclear Surety Officer for B-58 supersonic bombers. Promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, he was assigned to 3rd ACCS, flying missions to give the President positive control over nuclear strike forces. He retired after 23 years of active duty as a Master Navigator with over 4300 flight hours.
Dewey earned a master’s degree in agriculture education at Purdue University in 1971, and was hired as an assistant director of personnel. He later became the director of personnel for Indiana Veterans’ Home in West Lafayette. With his wife, he built and managed Southfork Apartments in W. Lafayette.
He was a longtime member of Covenant Church, John Purdue Club, Military Officer’s Assoc. of America, American Legion, Colorado State Alumni Assoc., Precinct chairman, and Adult Boy Scout Leader, achieving Brotherhood rank and the Order of the Arrow.
He is survived by his five children and their spouses including son, Stephen (Vickie) Scheufler of Chandler, Ariz.; daughters, Susan (Mark) Farris of Lebanon, Sandra (Kevin) Kaufman of W. Lafayette, Sarah (Al) Lambaria of O’Fallon, Ill., and Sharon (Robert) Rolnik of Kingwood, Texas. Other survivors include 15 grandchildren, Stacie, Scot, Sallie and Sadie Scheufler, Meghan (Tyler) Couchman, Matthew and Sean Farris, Rachel, Andrew and Emma Kaufman, Alex, Kate and Nick Lambaria, and Monika and Nicole Rolnik; and one great-grandchild, Miles Couchman.
Visitation is 3 to 6 p.m. Sunday, June 24, at Soller-Baker West Lafayette Chapel, 1184 Sagamore Pkwy W., West Lafayette, IN 47906. Memorial services will be 10 a.m. Monday, June 25, at Covenant Church, 211 Knox Dr. West Lafayette, IN 47906. Burial with military honors will follow at Grandview Cemetery, West Lafayette.
Memorial donations can be made to the Air Force Memorial Foundation, http://www.airforcememorial.org/index.asp.