Friday, August 10, 2012

Elmer Workman, Jr. 1921-2003

Elmer Workman, Jr., son of Elmer Workman, Sr. and Eula Mae Miller Workman, was born in Richland on April 7, 1921 and departed this life March 4, 2003 in Richland.

In 1940 he was united in marriage with Loretta Wall and to this union were born three children.
He attended and graduated from Richland High School in 1939. He had been a member of the American Legion Post #240 for 51 years.
Elmer served his country with the United States Air Force from May 1943 to September 1945 attaining the rank of Staff Sergeant. He served with the 306th bombardment group, was a decorated World War II veteran, receiving the Air Offensive Europe Campaign with three bronze stars, two Air Medals with five oak leaf clusters, and the Good Conduct Medal. He was a waist gunner on a B17, flew thirty five missions, was shot down over France, rescued by local residents and taken to safety in England.
In 1945, Elmer and Loretta opened a restaurant called Elmer's G.I. Drive-In. In 1946 he went into the used car business and continued this venture for over 50 years, buying cars in St. Louis and selling the majority of them at the 166 Auto Auction in Springfield. Elmer was a very generous man with his employees and customers. Many who bought cars and couldn't pay for them were never asked to bring them back, he just took the loss.

In 1951 he was called back to active duty during the Korean Conflict. The restaurant was then sold to his brother Ronald Workman and renamed Workman's Restaurant.

Those surviving include his one son, Coy Workman and wife Iva Nell of Richland; two daughters, Leah Helms and husband Dennis of Richland, and Lana Dunham of Waco, Texas; one sister, Norma Jean Johnson of Richland; a sister-in-law, Opal Workman of Richland; seven grandchildren, six great-grandchildren; faithful dog Mickey; other relatives and friends.

Elmer was preceded in death by his parents; one granddaughter, Kate Workman; one brother, Ronald Workman; one son-in-law, Fred Dunham; and one brother-in-law, Robert Johnson.

Services were held at 11:00 a.m. Friday, March 7, 2003 at Colonial Chapel, Richland, with Minister Bob Leinbaugh officiating. Escorts were Gilbert Whitham, Robert Holloway, Robert Decker, Larry Baranowski, Larry Dale Powers and Bill Decker, Jr. Honorary Escorts were Buck Hooker, Dick Flynn, Floyd Miller, Toot Smith, Bud Trower, Pete Wilson, Carl Tanner, Don Tanner, Roy Henry, Dick Smith, Harold Johnson and Floyd Rainey. Burial was in Oaklawn Cemetery.

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