Col. Noel Thomas Cumbaa

Funeral services for Col. Noel Thomas Cumbaa, 96, of Greenville, MS will be at 2:00 p.m., Saturday, March 9, 2013 at First Baptist Church, Greenville.  He died Thursday, March 7, 2013 at Kings Daughter’s Hospital. Burial will be in Leland-Stoneville Cemetery with military rites under the direction of Boone Funeral Home, Greenville. Noel Cumbaa was born in Girard, AL (now Phenix City, AL) on October 9, 1916.  His parents were Thomas Percival Cumbaa and Nell Jones Cumbaa.  He graduated from Columbus High School and the University of Alabama and was commissioned a 2nd Lt.  He entered the Army Air Corp Pilot Training School at Maxwell Field, AL in 1940.  During World War II he was with the 3rd Air Division, 8th Air Force Headquarters in Thetford, England, and from there he was assigned to the 95th Bomb Group (Heavy), a B-17 unit at Horham, England, where he served until the end of the war as Group Operations officer.  He served 19 combat missions against Germany and several humanitarian missions in Holland and France after the war ended. After the war he served in Washington SAC Headquarters and a brief time in Alaska before coming to the Greenville Air Base in 1950 where he met his wife of 61 years, Eloise Dean.  He was later stationed at Williams Air Force Base in Chandler, AZ, Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, AL and Scott Air Force Base in Bellville, IL.  He retired from the United States Air Force after 23 years of service.  At the time of his retirement he was serving as commanding officer of Hickman Air Force Base in Hawaii.  He received numerous metals for his service to his country.  He was most honored to receive the Distinguished Flying Cross that is awarded to any officer or enlisted man of the Armed Forces of the United States who shall have distinguished himself in actual combat in support of operations by heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight. Cumbaa worked for the Bank of Leland and later the Geenville Bank.  He was a long time member of the First Baptist Church, Greenville where he served as deacon and treasurer.  He was a past president of the Greenville Rotary Club.  He served many years campaigning for the United Way. He was preceded in death by his brother, Gordon A. Cumbaa, of Phenix City, AL. He is survived by his wife, Eloise Dean Cumbaa of Greenville; 2 sons, Charles Thomas Cumbaa (Maryileen) of Mt. Plesant, SC and Noel Dean Cumbaa (Jenni) of Leland; a daughter, Geraldine Cumbaa Moak (Bobby) of Madison; and 6 grandchildren, Alex Cumbaa, Chelsea Cumbaa, Noel Cumbaa, Lanie Cumbaa, Drew Moak and Sykes Moak. The family will receive friends from 1:00-2:00 p.m., Saturday, March 9, 2013 at First Baptist Church Forbus Center. In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to First Baptist Church, 407 Main Street, P. O. Box 1163, Greenville, MS or the charity of the donors choice.