Roland J. Prescher, 93
Blue Earth Roland John Prescher, age 93, of Blue Earth, died Friday, Oct. 14, 2016 at St. Luke’s Lutheran Care Center, Blue Earth. Funeral service was Wednesday, Oct.19, 2016 at St. Paul Lutheran Church, Blue Earth, Pastor Karl Yahr presided. Interment followed the service at Riverside Cemetery, Blue Earth.
He was born May 28, 1923, in Barber Township, near Delavan, the son of Fred and Alma (Weise) Prescher. He grew up on his family farm near Delavan, attended country school, and was a member of Immanuel Lutheran Church, Emerald Township, Blue Earth, where he was baptized, confirmed and later married. He graduated from Delavan High School in 1942 and enlisted the same year in the Army Air Corp. His basic training took place at Shepherd Field, Texas. Roland was assigned to a B-24 with the 449th Bomb Group of the 716th Squadron that left from Tucson, Arizona and flew to their WWII base at Grottaglie, Italy. He was part of the original bomb group which became known as a strategic air force in southern Italy. Butch’s crew named their plane the ‘Pistol Packin Mama,’ and his crew including 9 other men flew 18 missions in this plane. Ironically, the day they sat out, their plane went down with another crew. So they were assigned a different plane, ‘Sophisticated Lady,’ in which they flew a heroic mission destroying 15 enemy aircraft. After setting a record, and returning from this bombing mission over Regensburg, Germany, this plane was shot down Feb. 25, 1944. The crew parachuted out over Yugoslavian Alps and spent the next five weeks walking out through the snow and avoiding the Nazis with the help of Marshall Titos’ Partisans. Butch’s B-24 position was a right-waist gunner, and he was wounded on this mission. He was grateful to others who helped him survive this experience. After having been listed as missing in action, Butch finally returned to the U.S. in May 1944 to the relief of his anxious family. Military citations were Purple Heart, Distinguished Flying Cross, Good conduct Medal, European African Middle East Campaign, American Campaign, and Air Medal.
Once at home his first agenda was to marry his sweetheart, Geneva Haase, on May 14, 1944 at Immanuel Lutheran Church, rural Blue Earth. They farmed near Delavan with Butch’s brothers and later with Butch’s sons. The couple raised three children, Leon, Charles, and Gina. Butch spent most of his life farming and drove school bus 31 years for the Delavan School District. Near his retirement he and Geneva moved to Blue Earth. Later he drove school bus part-time for the Blue Earth Area School District. Butch had a history of being a busy man and throughout the years worked for Verdoorn Potato Farm, Stokley Co. mowing peas, Seneca corn pack, and after he ‘retired’ he mowed lawn for the city of Blue Earth for 10 years. Roland and Geneva spent several winters in Florida after retirement. He was a member of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, American Legion Post #89, 449th Reunion Bomb Group, Military Order of Purple Heart, and Disabled American Veterans. Many would say he was an American hero, a beloved family man, a man of faith, a fisherman, and a card player who carried a smile for everyone and kindness for all.
He is survived by his wife, Geneva; daughter, Gina Prescher; sons, Leon (Paulette) Prescher, and Charles (Corrine) Prescher, all of Blue Earth; four grand-children, 11 great-grandchildren; brother and sister-in-law, Ralph and Delores Prescher, St. Charles.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Fred and Alma (Weise) Prescher; brother and sister-in-law, Arnold and Everald Prescher; brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Howard and Phyllis A. Haase.
Memorials preferred to St. Luke’s Lutheran Care Center or St. Paul Lutheran Church, Blue Earth.
Online condolences may be left at www.pattonfh.com.