Hugh Edwin Phelan, 93, of Donaldson, passed away on Saturday, Feb. 11, at Hot Spring County Medical Center in Malvern. He was born March 30, 1918, to Thomas and Maude Phelan in Malvern. He was a Christian and worshiped at Donaldson Missionary Baptist Church, where he was a member. He taught Sunday School and was active in the construction of the current church building. He retired as a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force. He had served in the U.S. Army Air Corps as a B-17 bombardier during World War II. He completed 25 combat missions over Germany and Occupied France from January 1943 to October 1943 with the 306th Bombardment Group of the mighty Eighth Air Force. He was involved in the first daylight bombing raids over Germany in January 1943.
For his heroic service during the war, he was awarded the Purple Heart and Distinguished Flying Cross. After completing his duty in the war, he returned home to marry his sweetheart, Evelyn Orr of Donaldson on Dec. 4, 1943. He later served as the Arkansas Liaison Officer Coordinator for the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., where he counseled Arkansas high school students who were interested in attending the Air Force Academy.
In addition, he was elected circuit clerk of Hot Spring County before accepting an assignment at the U.S. Post Office as rural mail carrier at Donaldson, where he served 30 years.
He was preceded in death by his parents; a sister, Hazel McKenzie; two brothers, Calvin Phelan and Harold Phelan; and a daughter-in-law, Frances E. Phelan.
He is survived by his wife of 68 years, Evelyn Orr Phelan; two sons, Dr. Jim Phelan and wife Paula of Little Rock and Dr. Dick Phelan and wife Anna of Benton; five grandchildren, Kristi Pierce and husband Brad of Dallas, Dr. Tom Phelan and wife Wendy of Little Rock, Patrick Phelan and wife Neely of Little Rock, Dr. Todd Phelan and wife Sarah of Rogers and Brad Phelan of Washington, D.C.; and 11 great-grandchildren. He is also survived by one brother, Neil Phelan of Donaldson; and two sisters, Nettie Jackson of Magnet Cove and Ruth Young of Hot Springs Village.
Funeral service will be held at Donaldson Missionary Baptist Church at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 15, with the Revs. Keith Rowton and Hollis McDermott officiating. Prior to the church, visitation will be held at 10 a.m. at the church, prior to the service. Pallbearers are Jim Phelan, Dick Phelan, Tom Phelan, Patrick Phelan, Todd Phelan and Brad Phelan.
Arrangements are by Atkinson Funeral Home in Malvern.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers donations be made to Donaldson Missionary Baptist Church. Burial with full military honors will be at Ouachita Cemetery.
Family comments: Special thanks are extended to Dr. Ray Bollen and the wonderful staffs at Hot Spring County Medical Center and Malvern Nursing and Rehabilitation.