Warren R. Wanner, Mechanic

August 24, 2009|By Frederick N. Rasmussen

Warren R. Wanner, a decorated World War II turret gunner and a retired maintenance mechanic, died Saturday of a heart attack at his Fallston home.

He was 88.

Mr. Wanner, who had lived for the past five weeks at the Charlotte Hall Veterans Home in Southern Maryland, was a longtime Fallston resident.

He was born in Baltimore and raised in East Baltimore, where he attended Patterson High School and later earned his General Educational Development diploma while serving in the Amy.

Mr. Wanner joined the Maryland National Guard and served with the 175th Infantry Regiment Company of the 29th Division in Europe during the early years of World War II.

In 1943, he joined the Army Air Corps and was assigned to the 535th Bombardment Squadron - the Red Devils - where he was a ball turret gunner aboard Boeing B-17 Flying Fortresses based in Ridgewell, England.

Mr. Wanner completed more than 35 missions, family members said.

On Feb. 14, 1945, he was shot down on a mission over Belgium.

"He was first reported as 'missing in action,' but was never captured and safely made it back to friendly lines," said a daughter, Susan K. Johnson of Fallston.

Mr. Wanner was decorated with the Air Medal and six Oak Leaf Clusters and was honorably discharged in 1945 with the rank of staff sergeant.

Returning to Baltimore, Mr. Wanner worked as a maintenance mechanic at the Standard Oil Refinery in Canton and for the old Baltimore Transit Co.

For 20 years, until retiring in the mid-1970s, Mr. Wanner was employed at Lord Baltimore Press, which was later taken over by the International Paper Co.

He was a dog lover and enjoyed gardening and caring for his Fallston home.

His wife of 58 years, the former Elizabeth C. "Betty" Zopfi, died in 2005.

Mr. Wanner had been a member of Hiss United Methodist Church in Parkville.

"He had a good, long life, not without its ups and downs, but he was always ready to help and cared deeply," said Mrs. Johnson.

Services were held at Fallston United Methodist Church.

Also surviving are a son, Robert W. Wanner of Parkville; another daughter, Evelyn E. Bates of Perry Hall; and four grandchildren.

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