Conley Edward Culpepper

Male, #35453, (26 Mar 1924 - 30 Aug 2000)
Father*Capos Conley Culpepper (6 Apr 1879 - 11 Apr 1959)
Mother*Lou Anna Augusta Atchley (12 Jan 1878 - 9 Sep 1960)
Birth*26 Mar 1924 Conley was born at Grant Co., Arkansas, on 26 Mar 1924.1 
1930 Census1 Apr 1930 Conley was listed as a son in Capos Conley Culpepper's household on the 1930 Census at Washington, Grant Co., Arkansas.2 
Photographed*between 1942 and 1945 He was photographed between 1942 and 1945
From Chip Culpepper: "Here's a jpeg of my Dad, Technical Sergeant Conley E. Culpepper, in his "Fly Boy" pose. Good lookin' kid."3
Sgt. Conley Edward Culpepper, WW II
World War II*between 1942 and 1945 He served in World War II between 1942 and 1945
(See biography below for his WW-II service details). 
Death of Father11 Apr 1959 His father Capos Conley Culpepper died on 11 Apr 1959 at Sheridan, Grant Co., Arkansas
Death of Mother9 Sep 1960 His mother Lou Anna Augusta Atchley died on 9 Sep 1960 at Grant Co., Arkansas.4 
Residence*1963 Conley resided at Benton, Saline Co., Arkansas, in 1963. 
Death*30 Aug 2000 He died at Hot Springs National Park, Garland Co., Arkansas, on 30 Aug 2000 at age 76
HOT SPRINGS - Conley Edward Culpepper, 76, passed away Wednesday, Aug. 30, at his Garland County Home. Born March 26, 1924 in rural Grant County, near Sheridan, Ark., he was the youngest of the large family born to the late Capos Conley Culpepper and Lou Anna Augusta Atchley Culpepper.

A career forester and a naturally gifted botanist, he earned his degree in the fledgling forestry program at Arkansas A&M (now University of Arkansas at Monticello) under the benefits of the G.I. Bill. He supervised the logging crews that harvested timber on land which now forms Lake Ouachita.

During World War II, he served in the 100th Bomb Group of the 8th Army Air Force. He completed 35 combat bombing missions over Germany as flight engineer and top-turret gunner aboard a B-17G "Flying Fortress" heavy bomber. He achieved the rank of Technical Sergeant. Along with his aerial gunnery wings, he was awarded the Air Medal and the Europe-Middle East-Africa Campaign Medal.

He was a member of Owensville Baptist Church where he served as a Deacon and Sunday School teacher for many years. A 32nd Degree Mason, he was also an active member of the Order of the Eastern Star.

He is survived by his wife of 55 years, the former Delphia Jane Ashley and their seven sons and six daughters-in-law, Eddie and Susan Culpepper of Hot Springs Village, Kent Culpepper, Jack and Janie Culpepper, Scott and mary Culpepper, and Charles and Theresa Culpepper, all of Hot Springs, Mark and Angela Culpepper of Lonsdale, and C.C. "Chip" and Karen Culpepper of Little Rock. He is also survived by his brother, Oscar N. Culpepper of Little Rock, and a sister, Joyce West of Waxahatchie, Texas. Other survivors include 12 grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren; numerous nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents; and by brothers, J. Harry Culpepper, W. Jay Culpepper, and Sid Culpepper; and by sisters, Lillian Williams, Ruby Moore and Opal Culpepper.

Pallbearers are Mark deLinde, Tommy James, Rick Merryman, Bob Nichols, Andy Westerman and Bruce Westerman. Honorary pallbearers are Ray Lawson, Art Tuma, Roy Murphy, Paul Dahl, Harold McAlpine, Jerry Billings, George Johnston, Ted Chancey, Bob Gierow, Jerry Bryant and James Adair.

Visitation will be this evening, Sept. 1, from 6-9 p.m. at Ashby Funeral Home in Benton. Funeral services will be held Saturday, Sept. 2, at 10 a.m. at Owensville Baptist Church on Highway 5 in Saline County. Interment will be at Center Grove Cemetery in Sheridan.
Source: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Friday, Sept. 1, 2000.3
Conley Edward Culpepper
Biography* Conley Edward Culpepper was the son of Capos Conley and Lou Anna Augusta (Atchley) Culpepper. He was born and raised in Arkansas and grew up during the Great Depression. Conley recalled being fascinated by plants even as a child. When his parents took him on long hunting trips, he recalled being more interested in the plants than the animals.5

Conley was seventeen years old when the United States entered World War II. Tom Brokaw wrote The Greatest Generation in homage to those from this generation who sacrificed so much for their country and the world. As did many from this generation, Conley had to grow up fast. He served with the 8th Army Air Corps - 100th Bomb Group.6

Harry H. Crosby, lead navigator in the 100th Bomb Group, wrote A Wing and a Prayer: The "Bloody 100th" Bomb Group of the U.S. Eighth Air Force in Action over Europe in World War II. 7 After training, they were sent to England in 1943. Dr. Crosby noted that the group started earning its "Bloody 100th" nickname when the first crew was lost to enemy fire while on a practice run before the first mission had been flown, then six more crews were lost over Bremen, a squadron over Frankfurt, three planes survived a shuttle mission to Regensburg and only one returned from Muenster. The Group lost 15 of 35 bombers sent to bomb Berlin in March of 1944. The Group flew a total of 306 missions between June of 1943 and April of 1945 with a loss of 732 of its members.(Tim Taylor, "Reunion: Airman Recall Days Of Danger, "Active Years" section of an unknown newspaper, Dec 1993, pp. 8-9, 46 preserved by "Chip" Culpepper)

Other books written about the Group include Flying Fortresses and Twelve O'Clock High which was made into a movie starring Gary Cooper. Capos Conley "Chip" Culpepper, II, wrote ( A Collection of Culpeppers Little Rock, AR: self published, 1993, p. 191) that his father, Conley, was a "Technical Sergeant and served as flight engineer and gunner on a B-17 bomber crew which completed 35 missions over Germany." The 100th Bomb Group held a reunion in Little Rock, AR on the 50th anniversary of its first mission and Chip wrote: (letter 18 Nov 1993) The stories I heard were incredible! Every one of these men had perfect recall of every detail of every mission they flew. I guess when you are 19 or 20 and people are shooting at you tend to remember it. Conley was part of a nine man crew assigned to the 349th Bombardment Squadron and six of the nine were still living at the time of the reunion including pilot, James Adair of Bellaire, Texas, and bombardier, Milton Brucker of Houston, Texas. (Tim Taylor, "Reunion: Airman Recall Days Of Danger, "Active Years" section of an unknown newspaper, Dec 1993, pp. 8-9, 46 preserved by "Chip" Culpepper) Conley recalled flying out of England in B-17's loaded with 6,000 pounds of bombs and flying through enemy flak to bomb Germany's strategic military positions.(Tim Taylor, "Reunion: Airman Recall Days Of Danger, "Active Years" section of an unknown newspaper, Dec 1993, pp. 8-9, 46 preserved by "Chip" Culpepper)

The crew was nominated for the Distinguished Flying Cross for flying the lead position during a bombing run of Ludwigshafen, Germany and releasing aluminum strips, or "chaff," to disrupt the radar units on the ground.(Tim Taylor, "Reunion: Airman Recall Days Of Danger, "Active Years" section of an unknown newspaper, Dec 1993, pp. 8-9, 46 preserved by "Chip" Culpepper) Both Conley and James Adair recalled their first encounter with a German Messerschmitt Me 262, the first military jet fighter, as it moved in quickly to take out the squadron's "slot" aircraft and was gone in an instant. Conley was amazed with how fast it was able to move and Adair recalls seeing the pilot's face the jet was so close.(Tim Taylor, "Reunion: Airman Recall Days Of Danger, "Active Years" section of an unknown newspaper, Dec 1993, pp. 8-9, 46 preserved by "Chip" Culpepper) The average life expectancy of a bomber crew was 15 missions and, by the end of the war, the group had lost 200 planes and 86 percent of its original crews.(Tim Taylor, "Reunion: Airman Recall Days Of Danger, "Active Years" section of an unknown newspaper, Dec 1993, pp. 8-9, 46 preserved by "Chip" Culpepper) Conley survived 35 missions over Germany. The War in Europe ended on May 8, 1945 and the War in the Pacific ended on August 14, 1945. Conley was sent back to the States and was stationed in Oklahoma and on August 24, 1945 he married Delphia Jane Ashley.

After leaving the service, Conley found a way to pursue his love of nature, he attended Arkansas A&M College (now the University of Arkansas at Monticello) and earned a degree in Forestry.(Capos Conley "Chip" Culpepper, II, A Collection of Culpeppers Little Rock, AR: self published, 1993, p. 190) Conley then went to work as a District Forester for the Dierks Forest Products Company and Conley and Del settled down to raise their family near Crows ("Crows Station"), Saline Co., AR.(Capos Conley "Chip" Culpepper, II, A Collection of Culpeppers Little Rock, AR: self published, 1993, p. 190) Not satisfied with a career in trees, Conley gardened as an avocation. In the mid-1950s, he cultivated irises on a half-acre on East Oak Grove Circle in Center Grove (near Sheridan) near where his parents lived.(Neia L. Webb, "Forester Is Iris Enthusiast" Arkansas Democrat April 1962)

Chip wrote (18 Jan 1995) My father, Conley E. Culpepper, is a legend as far as gardening is concerned.... I remember people coming from miles around to see Dad's iris garden at Sheridan. Unfortunately, since we lived some 50-plus miles away from his farm and only visited it on weekends, his prized irises started being pilfered one-by-one. In 1965, after the Dierks Forest Products Company was sold to Weyerhauser, Inc., Conley and Del moved the family closer to Hot Springs, Garland Co., AR.(Capos Conley "Chip" Culpepper, II, A Collection of Culpeppers Little Rock, AR: self published, 1993, p. 190) Conley continued to work for Weyerhauser as a Tree Farm Family Manager but he was able to get in a little fishing on the side and he was noted in the company newsletter for having caught a 62 pound "whale" of a catfish.(Irene Floyd, "62 Pound Catfish Caught By Mtn. Pine Employee," Weyerhauser Company News June 1974) By 1993, Conley was working as a consultant to timberland owners.

The following article, from the records of Chip Culpepper, appeared in the December 1970 issue of the Arkansas-Oklahoma regional edition of the Weyerhaeuser Company newspaper. Chip's comments: " I remember going with my Dad (probably this year [1970]) to get the State Christmas Tree, although he did it for a number of years (the article says 7 as of 1970, but I think he got it for a few years after that as well).

Photo Caption: Workmen anchor state capitol Christmas tree in Little Rock after Weyerhaeuser personnel delivered the large eastern red cedar from company lands near Hollis.

Photo Credit: (Arkansas Democrat Photo)
For Arkansas Capitol
Company Furnishes Yule Tree

A 38-foot eastern red cedar from Dierks Division lands, now brightly decorated and located in the state capitol rotunda at Little Rock, is the "official" 1970 Christmas tree for the state of Arkansas.

The Oklahoma timberlands block also furnished a 35-foot cedar to the First National Bank in Oklahoma City, from company lands near Rock Creek in McCurtain County.

The Arkansas tree was felled near Hollis in Perry County and transported to the state capitol on December 7, where state officials took over the task of erecting and decorating it.

It was the seventh straight year that the "official" Yule tree has come from Dierks lands. During that period, Conley Culpepper, contract supervisor for the Mountain Pine block, has had the responsibility each year for searching out a tree of the proper shape and dimensions and seeing to it that it got to the capitol in good shape.

Once felled, the tree is placed on a large flat-bed truck and whisked to Little Rock with police escort.

Culpepper explains that to meet desired specifications, the capitol tree must range in height from 35 to 45 feet and be no more than 10 feet in diameter at its base ­ to allow it to be taken through the large double doors of the capitol building.

"It¹s kind of a specific tree," says the veteran forester. "You just don¹t find them growing in bundles."

Lighting of the tree is accompanied by a formal ceremony and program each year.3

Family

Delphia Jane Ashley
Children
ChartsJohn Culpepper of Randolph Co, AL: Descendant Chart
Last Edited22 Mar 2010

Citations

  1. Capos Conley Culpepper II, A Collection of Culpeppers, Vol I, unpublished manuscript, 225 p., July 1993,
    p 190.
  2. 1930 Federal Census, United States.
    ED 27-14, Sheet #2-B, No street addresses, Washington, Grant, AR
    Home owned, Value not given, Radio=blank, Farm=Yes
    C. C. Culpepper, Head, M, 51, M, md@22, AL/GA/GA, Policeman, City Force, Vet=No 
    Annie Culpepper, Wife, F, 52, M, md@23, AR/TN/TN, Not employed
    W. J. Culpepper, Son, M, 14, S, AR/AL/AR
    Oscar Culpepper, Son, 12, S, AR/AL/AR
    Joyce Culpepper, Dau, 9, S, AR/AL/AR
    Conley Culpepper, Son, 6, S, AR/AL/AR.
  3. E-mail written 1998-2011 to Culpepper Connections from Capos Conley 'Chip' Culpepper II (#23339), Little Rock, AR, e-mail address.
  4. Capos Conley Culpepper II, A Collection of Culpeppers, Vol I, unpublished manuscript, 225 p., July 1993,
    p 67.
  5. Neia L. Webb, "Forester Is Iris Enthusiast" Arkansas Democrat April 1962
  6. Capos Conley "Chip" Culpepper, II, A Collection of Culpeppers Little Rock, AR: self published, 1993, p. 190
  7. New York: Harper Collins Publishers, Inc., 1993