Western Nebraska Observer - Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

Rolland E. Vencill


Rolland E. Vencill, 94, of Kimball, died at the Kimball County Manor on Wednesday, March 16, 2016. Funeral services will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, March 21, 2016 at the Cantrell Funeral Home in Kimball with Pastor Carla Gunn officiating. Burial will be in the Kimball Cemetery. Friends may visit http://www.cantrellfh.com to view Rollie's Tribute Wall and leave condolences for the family. Memorials have been established to the Kimball County Manor, Shriners Hospital or the Donor's Choice. The services for Rollie have been entrusted to the Cantrell Funeral Home.

Rollie was born August 5, 1921 to Lloyd and Ruth (Tomlin) Vencill in Holbrook, Nebraska on the farm where they lived. In 1926, they moved to a farm north of Bushnell. Rollie graduated from Kimball High School in 1939.

Rollie had many memories of the "Dirty Thirties" which included jack rabbit and coyote hunts. In 1940, they moved from the farm into Kimball where they were living when Pearl Harbor was bombed on December 7, 1941; our country was immediately in World War II.

In January 1942, Rollie enlisted in the Air Force and completed basic training at Ft. Leavenworth, KS. He was stationed at Chanute Air Base where he was trained in repairing the B-17 Flying Fortress. He was then sent to Spokane, W A and was assigned to the 385111 Bomb Group. At Fairchild AF Base, he was promoted to Lead maintenance inspector.

While stationed there, he married Arlene Barett on September 16, 1942 in Coure D'Alene, ID. After the crews were trained, they were sent to Scotland on a cruise ship that had been recommissioned as a troop carrier. The 385th was then moved to Great Ashfield Air Base in England flying 144 missions over Germany. After returning to the US, Rollie was stationed in Texas until the Korean conflict began. Now part of the. 49th Fighter Squadron operating out of Taegu, Korea in June 1950, Rollie and his crew were responsible for inspecting the F-84s after every mission.

After more than a year in Korea, Rollie returned to California until he was appointed to the Air Force Academy where he made sure the planes flown by Air Cadets were air worthy. This work would take him to Lowry Air Force Base in Denver, CO where he would remain until his retirement as an E9 Chief Master Sargent in March of 1963.

After retiring, Rollie was asked by AF General Curtis LeMay to be responsible for maintenance of planes at a private flying club at Lowry AFE.

During his career in the USAF and at the Lowry Flying Club, Rollie received many promotions, awards and commendations, including "Outstanding Aero Club" in the United States.

Rollie and Arlene continued to live in Littleton, CO after his retirement staying active in various Masonic and Shrine groups including Commander of the Legion of Honor.

In 2007, they returned to Kimball to be closer to family. Rollie enjoyed following Nebraska Comhusker football, the Denver Broncos and the Colorado Rockies. Arlene passed away in April 2009, and Rollie continued to reside at the Kimball Manor until his death.

Rollie is survived by two sisters Helen Fulmer of Arvada, CO and Joyce (Don) Maxted of Kimball, NE, numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his wife Arlene, his parents Lloyd and Ruth; one sister Beth (Vic) Schneider and one brother Lloyd Jr. 'John' (Lois) Vencill, two nieces Vickie Sue Schneider and Karen Vencill Rider.


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