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AEM2 Wallace Reed & Muriel “Leona” Cook

AEM2 Wallace Reed & Muriel “Leona” Cook


Born to Hartwell E. and Daisy Mae Cook in Florence, South Carolina on Wednesday, September 17, 1924. Wallace was the third child and third son of Hartwell and Daisy. One of his later siblings would pass to eternity as an infant, but in total, Wallace had three brothers and three sisters.

In 1926, the Cook family would move from South Carolina to Florida, settling in a home on Lawton Avenue, just South of where the Trout River meets the St. John’s River. His father Hartwell took a job with the railroad as a coachman while Daisy tended to the affairs of the home.

When war broke out again in Europe, the Cook family boys met the challenge head on when Wallace and his brothers Bonnie and Stanley all enlisted in the Navy. Wallace enlisted on his 18th birthday, then served in the South Pacific where, due to a severe shortage of aircraft electrical repair personnel, he would spend four continuous years forward deployed without any leave.

Wallace would go on to also serve in the Korean War and before completing his time on active duty would attain the rank/rate of 2nd Class Aviation Electrician’s Mate.

After the Korean War and earning the Korean Service Medal, Wallace came home to stay then met and married Muriel “Leona” Thompson. Leona, as she preferred, was born in Carroll County, Illinois to Henry and Hazel Thompson on August 23, 1924. Wallace and Leona were married in 1953.

Wallace went to work for Hughes Aircraft in Los Angeles after the war and would continue his service to the country while working on such projects as the Apollo Moon Project including significant work on design of the lunar lander.

After his retirement from Hughes Aircraft in the late 70’s, Wallace and Leona returned to Jacksonville. Back home, Wallace became an honorary member of the IBEW (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers) Local 177 Retirees Club and Leona volunteered her time at the Turtle Creek Nursing Home.

In 1992, Wallace became one of our founding members and our first two year trustee, here at Oceanway VFW Post 11406.

In June of 2005, Wallace went to be with The Lord following a long illness. Leona joined him in March the very next year. Wallace and Leona felt so strongly about their home here at Post 11406 that they bequeathed 10% of their combined estate to the post, allowing us to obtain our current home on Magnolia Avenue.

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