Thomas Wilson Ferebee, 81, the bombardier who dropped...

Deaths Elsewhere

March 17, 2000

Thomas Wilson Ferebee, 81, the bombardier who dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima in World War II, died Thursday in Windermere, Fla.

He was 26 on Aug. 6, 1945, a major and a veteran of 64 missions when the B-29 Enola Gay took off for Japan with the first nuclear weapon ever deployed.

Mr. Ferebee, who retired from the Air Force as a colonel in 1970, said he never felt guilty but was sorry the bomb killed so many.

"I'm sorry an awful lot of people died from that bomb, and I hate to think that something like that had to happen to end the war," he said in a 1995 interview on the 50th anniversary of the bombing. "Now we should look back and remember what just one bomb did, or two bombs," he said. "Then I think we should realize that this can't happen again."

The United States' bombing of Hiroshima and the blast at Nagasaki three days later left more than 100,000 dead. Japan surrendered on Aug. 14, 1945, five days after the Nagasaki bomb was dropped.

The only other man who has dropped a nuclear bomb in war, Nagasaki bombardier Kermit Beahan, died in 1989.

Mr. Ferebee's death leaves four surviving members of the Enola Gay's crew: retired Brig. Gen. Paul Tibbets, the pilot; navigator Ted Van Kirk; weapons officer Morris Jeppson; and radio operator Richard Nelson.

Durward Kirby, 88, a versatile TV funnyman who for years played second banana on "The Garry Moore Show" and for a time was co-host of "Candid Camera," died in Tampa, Fla. Mr. Kirby died of congestive heart failure Wednesday, his son, Randall Kirby, said yesterday.

Starting out in radio in the Midwest, Mr. Kirby teamed up with Mr. Moore off and on for 30 years, serving as announcer and performer on "The Garry Moore Show," which was broadcast live on CBS-TV from 1950 to 1951, and the highly successful variety show of the same name that ran from 1958-1964 and 1966-1967.

Tommy Collins, 69, who wrote country music hits for Merle Haggard, George Strait and other singers, died Tuesday in Ashland City, Tenn., of complications from emphysema.

His hits included "If You Ain't Lovin' (You Ain't Livin')" by both Mr. Strait and Ferlin Huskey, and Mr. Haggard's "Carolyn." Mr. Haggard wrote his 1981 hit "Leonard" in tribute to Mr. Collins.

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