BIG STONE GAP, VA--- Ralph Donald (Don) Shuler, 94, died Monday, October 16, 2017 at Johnson City Veteran’s Hospital. Don was a lifelong resident of Big Stone Gap; Va. Don was preceded in death by his mother and father, Emily and Hugh Shuler, and 2 brothers, Roy and Harold Shuler. Surviving are his wife of 69 years, Anna Johnston Shuler of Big Stone Gap and daughter, Donna Williams and Son-in-law, Tom; son Dennis Shuler and Daughter-in-law Karen; daughter Karen Franks and son-in law, Clyde of Big Stone Gap, VA; grandchildren, Jarid Williams of Waverly, Va., Dr. Elizabeth Shuler and spouse Dr. Brandon Tester of Big Stone Gap, Va., Jason Franks and spouse Gina of New Mexico, Amber Stamper and spouse Jonathan of North Carolina; great grandchildren Paul, Jessica, Patience, and Jonathan.
Don grew up on the family’s farm with his parents and 2 brothers. After graduating high school, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1943 where he served as a tail gunner on the B 17 bomber. Don flew 29 missions in the European Theater during World War II. He was the last surviving member of the ten-man crew of the 379th Bomb Group of the 8th Air Force. He achieved the rank of Staff Sergeant and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, Three Oak Leaf Clusters, Good Conduct Medal, Presidential Unit Citation, and United States Army Air corps Aviation Crew Wings. Upon his discharge from the Air Corps, he returned to Big Stone Gap, VA and worked for 35 years at Pet Dairy when the dairy closed. He served 27 years as a member of the Big Stone Gap Volunteer Fire Department. Don has been a member of the Seminary United Methodist Church since he was 14 years old. He was a 53-year member of the Masonic Lodge.
After retirement, Don enjoyed visiting with friends, especially early morning breakfast at Hardee’s. Don enjoyed staying busy on the farm, tending to his garden or spending time with his dog, She-ra, walking around the farm.
Visitation will be Thursday, October 19th, 2017 from 5:00-7:00 pm. Members of the Masonic Lodge will accord a Masonic Funeral Service at 7:00pm with funeral services immediately following at Gilliam Funeral Home with Rev. Barry Sarver, Tom Williams, and Dr. Garrett Sheldon officiating. Military graveside services will be accorded by the Local DAV & VFW Honor Guard Units and the Gate City National Guard at 1:00 pm on Friday, October, 20th, 2017 Family and friends are asked to assemble at Gilliam Funeral Home at 12:30 pm to go in procession to Powell Valley Memorial Gardens, 5650, Powell Valley Road, Big Stone Gap, VA.
Those serving as pallbearers are: Jarid Williams, Jason Franks, Brandon Tester, Jonathan Stamper, Clyde Franks, and Tom Williams. Honorary pallbearer will be Richard Shuler.
Gilliam Funeral Home is honored to serve the family of Ralph (Don) Shuler.
You may go online to view obituaries at gilliamfuneralhome.com or send condolences to firstname.lastname@example.org.
618 Wood Ave. West
Big Stone Gap, VA 24219