Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) Ira Lavern “Ike” Laney of Dothan, Alabama departed this Earth on Veterans’ Day, November 11, 2007. He was born June 2, 1927 in Carlisle, Wyoming. Too young to serve in combat, LTC Laney joined the Merchant Marines, serving in the branch that would see the greatest percentage of casualties during World War II. Following the war, he enlisted in the United States Army and served with the Army of the Occupation in Germany. He married Jeanette Blackwell, together they had three children, and duty often called him away from his family for the Korean War and two tours in Vietnam. LTC Laney was an aviator, both fixed and rotary wing. In addition, he was a paratrooper and master marksman. Amongst his military distinctions, he was awarded the Bronze Star with 1 OLC, the Air Medal with 7th OLC, and the Army Commendation Medal with 1 OLC. He retired from the military and returned to the Wiregrass with his family in 1970 where he never gave up his passion for flight and was employed as the corporate pilot for Benson Wholesale Foods in Geneva. He also found new interests such as building a log house north of Enterprise. To his grandchildren, LTC Laney will be remembered for his monumental exploits, like bringing his airplane to a granddaughter’s school “show and tell” or hauling grandchildren on transcontinental RV treks. To his children, he will be remembered as a stern but loving father, well centered in his dedication to God, country and family, and subscribing to the notion that there were things much bigger than self. His greatest gift to his family may well be his affection and adoration for their mother and grandmother, his wife of almost 60 years. The family expresses its thanks to the compassionate workers that provided hospice care during the course of his long illness. LTC Laney is preceded in death by a brother, Jack R. Laney, missing in action over Burma during World War II; his parents George K. and Lora A. Laney, formerly of Daleville, AL; and brothers Charles G. Laney, formerly of Lester Community, GA and George K. Laney, Jr. formerly of Kent, WA. He is survived by his wife, Jeanette B. Laney of Dothan; a son, Ira L. Laney II of Kennesaw, GA; a daughter, Lora Jan Laney of Dothan, AL; a daughter and son-in-law, Cindy and Paul Meyers of Dothan; a sister Hilda McKercher of Tacoma, WA; a brother, Edwin Joseph Laney of Santa Rosa, CA; five grandchildren including Lora “Amie” and husband Garvin Hoffman of Dothan, Benjamin and wife Dina Ayers of Kuwait City, Adrianne and husband Tobias Sommer of Kuwait City, Paul “Buck” Meyers of Dothan and Hayley Meyers of Ozark; and two great-grandson, Ben Ayers and Needam Sommer. Funeral services will take place at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Dothan, at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, November 14, 2007 with Byrd Funeral Home directing. Burial will take place at the National Cemetery at Arlington at a date and time not yet available. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to LDS Perpetual Education, 15 E. South Temple, 2nd Floor East, Salt Lake City, Utah 84150 or to the Wounded Warrior Project, P.O. Box 758517, Topeka, KS 66675-8517.
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