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November 29, 2014
John L. Redrup
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John L. Redrup
John L. Redrup
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John L. Redrup

Fighter Pilot

Major John Lyle Redrup, USAF (Ret), 96, of Franklin passed away Thursday, June 11, 2014.

Born in Philadelphia, PA on July 2, 1917, he was the son of the late John Redrup and Anna Redrup.

In addition, he was preceded in death by his wife, Adele Jenkins Redrup, who died in 2005 and his sister, Elva Redrup, who died in 2013.

John Redrup flew more than 8,000 hours in a multitude of airplanes between 1937 and 2007. His flying days spanned open cockpit biplanes to our highest performance jets. While mostly in fighters, he also flew the B-57 Canberra, a plane that carried a nuclear bomb.

An enlisted pilot in training during WWII, he became an officer and made the transition from the Army Air Force to the U.S. Air Force.

During the first days of the Korean War, he was among the F-82 Twin Mustang pilots checking weather over Korea. They were also out to intercept possible enemy planes heading toward U.S. bases in Japan, and to attack enemy tanks.

For much of the 1950s, Maj. Redrup was an active participant in the Cold War, that fearful time of hostile relations between the USSR and USA without direct military engagement. He was an all-weather jet interceptor pilot flying missions out of Japan and McGuire AFB, NJ to protect the nation and its allies from attack.

After retirement in 1965, he managed the Flight Safety pilot training operations in Vero Beach, Florida. He came to Franklin in 1974 as operator of the Macon County Airport.

Well into his 80s, Redrup continued flying firefighting missions for the NC Forest Service. His personal bright yellow 1946 Cessna was a common sight over the county for many years.

Since 1985, he was president of the Macon County Aviation Historical Society. He also chaired several of the volunteer-arranged air shows at the county airport.

A lover of books, he was a dedicated volunteer for more than 20 years at the Friends of the Library bookstore until earlier this year. For close to 30 years, he was chairman of the informal Saturday Breakfast Bunch that meets at the Sunset Restaurant.

John Redrup is survived by two sons, John Redrup Jr. and wife Leslie of Melbourne, FL and Alan Redrup and wife Linda of Philadelphia; his step-daughters, Betsy Jenkins Bird and husband Kinzie of Memphis, TN, and Amelia Adele Jenkins of Kailua, Hawaii; and step-son Tommy Jenkins and wife Robin of Franklin. His former wife, Dorothy Redrup, passed away in 1995. He had numerous grandchildren, great grandchildren.

John Redrup is also survived by more friends than most people ever have and a loyal and well-loved Jack Russell terrier named Ben.

The family will hold a memorial service and reception at the First Presbyterian Church of Franklin, North Carolina, June 28, 2014 at 4 p.m. Pastor Alan Redrup will preside.

Memorial donations can be made to the Humane Society of the U.S., 2100 L Street NW, Washington, DC 20037.