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Donald F. O'Hora, retired Air Force captain April 12, 1923 -- Sept. 24, 2005

Retired Air Force Capt. Donald F. O'Hora, of Lancaster, died Saturday in Veterans Affairs Medical Center after a lengthy illness. He was 82.

Born in Buffalo, he attended St. Nicholas Elementary School and graduated from Barker High School.

He enlisted in the Army Air Forces in 1942 and became the nation's youngest glider pilot. He took part in the first wave of gliders flying into the Cherbourg Peninsula on D-Day. After he was wounded and his glider crashed, he was captured and held in a German field hospital area for a month before he escaped.

Returning stateside, he went to pilot school and was stationed in Japan, England, Germany and Labrador, retiring from the Lockport Radar Site in 1965 with the rank of captain. He received 16 medals and citations, including two Air Medals and three Purple Hearts.

Mr. O'Hora then became a claims adjuster for the Insurance Company of North America and went to Buffalo State College on the GI Bill, earning bachelor's and master's degrees in education.

After teaching high school in Corning, he became an education specialist for the Navy, covering schools and colleges throughout Western and Central New York and nearby Pennsylvania. He retired in 1989.

A former resident of Eden, he moved to San Antonio in 1990, then lived in Nashville, Tenn., for seven years. In late 2003, he returned to the Buffalo area.

Survivors include his wife of 62 years, the former Helen S. Schmitt; a son, Jon Patrick of San Antonio; a daughter, Shawn of Lancaster; a brother, Richard of Nipomo, Calif.; and two grandchildren.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 9 a.m. Saturday in Fourteen Holy Helpers Catholic Church, 1345 Indian Church Road, West Seneca, after prayers at 8:30 in Kazmierczak Funeral Home, 3640 Clinton St., West Seneca. Burial will be in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Va.

[anderson]

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