Lonnie M. Massey

Published 10:27 pm Thursday, March 28, 2019

Lonnie M. Massey went to be with the Lord on March 23, 2019. He was born in November of 1918, in Delta County, Texas, the oldest of Mann and Leeola Massey’s three children. He is predeceased by his wife of 47 years, Iris C. Massey.

He graduated from Cooper High School in 1937 and was a retired U.S. Marine Corps captain, serving his country in both World War II and Korea, where he was awarded the Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Clusters for “his vital work maintaining constant and uninterrupted radio communications between all Marine companies and serving as an inspiration to his fellow platoon members” during the battle of the Chosin Resivour.

Massey served on the USS Northampton heavy cruiser during World War II, where he used his skills in Morse code, radio theory and electronics. He and his crewmates served with the III Marine Amphibious Corps at the battles of Guadalcanal, Bougainville, Okinawa, Kwajalein, Saipan and Guam.

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After his service, he worked civil service in radio communications and cryptography. He was involved in top-secret operations, such as when he was selected to be a radio relay platoon instructor and helped train the original Navajo Code Talkers. He traveled the United States and world working on U.S. Naval Transmitter bases. Lonnie enjoyed traveling; some of his favorites places worldwide were in Australia and southern Spain, where the people were wonderful, honest and helpful. His travels eventually led him to his late wife, Iris, whom he met in Northern Ireland.

He is survived by his sons, Robert M. Massey and wife, Catherine, of Wake Forrest, N.C., and Julian M. Massey, of Homer, Alaska; and granddaughters Meredith, Olivia, and Caroline.

A memorial service will be conducted at 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 30, 2019, by the Rev. Julie Anna Sterling at Suffolk Presbyterian Church, 410 N. Broad St., Suffolk. R.W. Baker & Co. Funeral Home and Crematory, 509 W. Washington St., Suffolk, is serving the family. Condolences may be registered at RWBakerFH.com.