John P. Combs passed away on Saturday, January 18, 2020, after an extended illness.
Mr. Combs attended West Virginia University before receiving an appointment to the U.S. Naval Air Cadet Program in Pensacola, FL.
He served in the U.S. Navy on active duty as a helicopter pilot from December 4, 1956 to July 1, 1963. This included a period as a pilot with Air America in Laos, Asia, just prior to the Vietnam war. Upon returning to the United States, he served as the test pilot for the Navy Aircraft Rework Center in San Diego, CA, during the Vietnam war. Upon separation from active duty, he continued in the Naval Reserve until retirement on July 1, 1980. During much of this time, after leaving active duty, Mr. Combs worked for the U.S. Naval Safety Center in Norfolk, VA, as an aircraft accident investigator until his retirement in December 1993. He was an active member of the International Society of Aircraft Accident Investigators (ISSAI) serving as its Ethics Chairman for over 10 years.
During his retirement, he served as a docent at the Congressional Bunker at The Greenbrier hotel in White Sulphur Springs, WV, where he guided people from all over the world through this Cold War facility establish by President Eisenhower to secure the American government in case of a nuclear attack. Ordered by physicians to move to a warmer climate and near a major medical center, he moved to Gainesville, FL, in 2005 to avail himself of the services of UF Health and be close to family. In Gainesville, he served as a Stephen’s minister for the Trinity United Methodist Church and as a member of the Rotary Club of Gainesville.
He is survived by his wife, Margaret; two step children, Dana Nemenyi of Gainesville and Dan Durborow of Marysville, OH; two children, Kevin Combs of Yorktown, VA, and Keeley Benton of Chesapeake, VA; three step grandchildren, Katie Durborow of DeLeon Springs, FL, John Nemenyi of Gainesville, and Marcia Nemenyi of Las Vegas, NV; and two step great-grandchildren, Abi and Tucker Sweeting, both of DeLeon Springs.
Funeral services will be held on Saturday, January 25, 2020, at 10 a.m. at the chapel at the Trinity United Methodist Church, 4000 NW 53rd Avenue, Gainesville, FL 32653. A celebration of life is being scheduled for this spring in his beloved West Virginia.
Wallace & Wallace Funeral Home in White Sulphur Springs submitted the information for the Combs family.
Obituary originally published in the January 22, 2020, edition of The West Virginia Daily News.