Friday, December 11, 2015


Little Jack Russell McVicker was born to Paul Russell McVicker and Lucile Fulton McVicker in August of 1919.  I don't know much about Paul, because shortly after Jack's birth, Paul was sent to San Quentin for a long time on a robbery charge and was divorced by Lucile.  In due time Lucile remarried and took on the surname of York, becoming the wife of Rex York.  At some point, little Jack dropped McVicker as his name and took on York.  In fact, he married Virginia Nash as Jack York and also joined the military using that name.  I don't know if it was a legal change or not.

What I do know is that in 1948 Jack was a 1st Lieutenant and piloted an airplane that took his life in a crash in Michigan.  He was 29.

This is the kind of plane he was piloting.  The picture above and the material below are from the website of the Michigan Aviation Archaeology website.

Ethel Popek was in the observation tower on the Wurtsmith AFB gunnery and bombing range watching her husband, Major Edward Popek, leading a flight of F-80 Shooting Stars of the 62nd Fighter Squadron in a practice bombing run.  At about 5:30, the fourth plane in the flight of four, flown by 1st Lt. Jack York began its bombing run.  As Ethel watched, she thought that York's dive seemed a little steeper and faster than the other planes' had been.  No doubt she was horrified when the jet leveled out at just 300 ft. and smashed into the ground just beyond the bombing target, bursting into flames and skidding to a halt after 2,000 feet.  Rescue teams responded within minutes and the remaining planes flew out over nearby Lake Huron, dropped their remaining bombs and landed to await word on their comrade.  Sadly, 1st Lt. Jack R. York was killed on impact.  He was survived by his wife Virginia and two children.  The cause of the crash was determined to be either failure of the dive flaps to properly deploy or failure of the pilot to deploy the dive flaps prior to beginning the dive.  The 62nd Fighter Squadron was using the first production jets in the USAF. Training SOPs in use at the time were still those written for the much slower propeller planes.

At the time there was a small article shown in a local newspaper,


I later learned his two children were a son Allan Russell York, born 4 October 1941 in Los Angeles, CA, and a daughter Carol Louise York, born 21 Dec 1942 also in Los Angeles.  His wife later married a Mr. Saban and then a William C. Murray of Lynwood, California.

Why is Jack York of interest to me?  His grandma was Pamelia "Millie" Stevens Fulton, a sister of my great-grandmother Nellie Stevens Davis.    Millie's daughter, Lucile, (Jack's mom) was a cousin of my grandma Jessie Davis Ryland.  My mother, Virginia, was a second cousin of Jack York…. making me a fourth cousin of Jack's children.  Interestingly, at the time they were living in the area around Inglewood, California, I was in college in that same area.  Since my grandma was already long dead, I didn't have a clue that a distant relative lived nearby.  But like a good genealogist I was was interested to learn "historically" that our paths could have crossed.

In 1984 I read a letter that his mother Lucile had written in a genealogy search:  "I had three children, two boys and a girl.  My older son Jack was a pilot in WWII.  He came back from Italy - but cracked up his jet in '48."  And sad to say in all those years since, Jack is the only descendant whose whereabouts I have found.

Jack's remains were brought back to California for burial and he rests in Inglewood Cemetery.

No comments:

Post a Comment