Yesterday we said our official goodbyes to my grandpa: Capt. Norman Lancaster USN. He was born in 1914, grew up on a tobacco farm in North Carolina, used to help his dad bootleg alcohol, got a law degree, joined the Navy, fought in WWII (Pearl Harbor), was one of the original JAG corps, retired from the Navy at the rank of Captain, was married to my grandmother for close to 60 years, and died on April 25th, 2011. at the age of 96. He now rests at Arlington Cemetery, buried with full military honors.
Love you and miss you Grandpa!
|Grandpa & me napping|
|playing in a tent with Grandpa and R2-D2|
|with Grandpa and Keith (my brother) at their apt. in DC|
|Grandpa & me at his birthday dinner. Fixing his coat.|
|Grandpa (center) in his Navy days|
|Grandpa & Grandma|
|Service at Arlington National Cemetery. September 14th, 2011.|
From The Observer:
Norman Gray Lancaster
Norman Gray Lancaster, age 96, retired Captain of the U.S. Navy, died April 25, 2011 at Inova Alexandria Hospital in Alexandria, VA as the result of complications from pneumonia.
Captain Lancaster was born in Castalia, NC on October 1, 1914. He graduated from Wake Forest University School of Law in 1938. After graduation and admission to the North Carolina Bar in 1938, he engaged in the general practice of law in Spring Hope, NC until December of 1940.
In August of 1940, Captain Lancaster joined the Navy "V-7" program and attended the Reserve Midshipman School at Northwestern University from December 1940 to March 1941 when he was commissioned an Ensign. Immediately upon being commissioned, he reported aboard the light cruiser USS Phoenix (CL-46) for duty. He remained aboard the Phoenix (which was moored in Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 when the Japanese attacked) until June 1943. Captain Lancaster was then assigned duty aboard the light cruiser USS Miami (CL-89) from December 1943 until April 1946. On both ships he served as an unrestricted line officer and was awarded several campaign medals, including the Asiatic-Pacific medal with seven battle stars.
In 1946 Captain Lancaster was transferred from unrestricted line duty and designated a legal specialist by the Secretary of the Navy, limiting his duties to the legal field. In 1967 Congress enacted a law establishing the Judge Advocate General Corps of the Navy, at which time Captain Lancaster became a member of the Corps. He retired from the Navy on June 30, 1975. Among his many and varied duties during 29 years of service in the legal field, Captain Lancaster served as a Senior Legal Advisor to the Commander-in-Chief US Forces Pacific (for which he received the Joint Services Commendation Medal), Fleet and Staff Legal Officer to Commander-in-Chief US Forces Europe (for which he received the Meritorious Service Medal), and chairman of the US Naval Military Court of Review.
Captain Lancaster was also a 32nd degree Mason and a Shriner.
His survivors include his son, Norman G. Lancaster, Jr. of Danville, CA, grandsons Clayton Lancaster of Walnut Creek, CA and Keith Lancaster of Reseda, CA, and a step-grandson Christian Pollock of Layton, UT.
Funeral services with Full Military Honors will be held on Wednesday, September 14, 2011 at 9:00 AM at the Fort Myer Old Post Chapel on the Fort Myer Army Base in Arlington, Virginia, followed by interment at Arlington National Cemetery. Those attending should allow 20 minutes to clear base security. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the Shiners' Hospitals for Children.
Published in The News & Observer from June 15 to June 19, 2011