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Tuskegee Airman Theodore Lumpkin Jr. passes away from COVID-19

Lumpkin was close to his 101st birthday when he died of coronavirus complications.

Theodore Lumpkin Jr. Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images

Another famed member of society has lost a grueling battle against the coronavirus. According to a statement from Los Angeles City College, Tuskegee Airman Theodore Lumpkin Jr. has passed away at the age of 100.

On Friday (Jan. 8), LACC, where he attended from 1938 to 1940, announced that Lumpkin had passed away on Dec. 26 from complications of COVID-19. The Los Angeles native had been enrolled as a junior marketing major at UCLA before he was drafted into the military. In 1942, Lumpkin was assigned to the 100th Fighter Squadron in Tuskegee, Alabama. From there, he went on to become apart of the Tuskegee Airmen who escorted bombers in Europe.

“We’re carrying on his [legacy], but it’s an end of an era,” his son Ted Lumpkin III told the Los Angeles Times.

As a 2nd lieutenant with the U.S. Army Air Force, Lumpkin said that his vision wasn’t the best so he became an intelligence officer, who briefed pilots about missions during an overseas combat tour in Italy. During his time in the military, Lumpkin managed to obtain his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Southern California. While in school, Lumpkin met his wife Georgina and married her before he eventually retired from the Air Force as a lieutenant colonel.

In the years after his time in the military, Lumpkin didn’t mention his accolades as a Tuskegee Airman to his family until he was first honored on the reality show “That’s Incredible.” Years later, Lumpkin was one of several surviving members who was honored with the Congressional Gold Medal in 2007. Then, two years later, Lumpkin was also in attendance when President Barack Obama was inaugurated in 2009.

Lumpkin is one of the millions of people who have passed away due to complications from the coronavirus including Tommy “Tiny” Lister, former presidential candidate Herman Cain, and over 100 inmates in federal prisons around the country.

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