George Brownlee Boone, 96, of Asheville, North Carolina, died Sept. 2, at Deerfield Retirement Community, Asheville.

Born in Watseka, Illinois, he was the husband of Shirley (Talbot) Boone of Asheville, and the son of the late George Ingels and Katherine Sinclair (Brownlee) Boone. He was preceded in death by his wife of 56 years, Alma Anne (Cousins) Boone on Dec. 30, 2007.

During his sophomore year at The University of Virginia, Boone and some of his very closest friends enlisted in the Army Air Corp, (now The U.S. Air Force), immediately following the bombing of Pearl Harbor. He bravely served his country as an officer while piloting a B-24 bomber — known as The Liberator. The B-24 Liberator was an extremely difficult plane to fly — the pilot navigating through flak-filled skies, in frigid high altitude temperatures, and up to 8 hour round trips. On April 15, 1944 while flying over German occupied Romania, 1st Lt. Boone's plane was shot down. He was captured and held as a prisoner of war for over a year by the Nazis during WWII. Boone was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, a Purple Heart, 3 Bronze Stars, and an Air Medal.

After the war, Boone entered business with his father on Long Island, New York. Boone and his father pioneered the emerging and rapidly growing HVACR industry as manufacturer sales representatives. The George I. Boone Co. was one of Tecumseh Products Co.'s very first sales representatives. The company was tasked with selling Tecumseh’s new single cylinder hermetic compressor to both OEMs and wholesale distributors. During the late 1950s and 1960s, they became key to the establishment of Tecumseh as the leading supplier of hermetic compressors to the growing markets of residential window and central air conditioning systems with companies such as Carrier and Fedders. Upon his father’s untimely passing, Boone was suddenly forced to take over the business. Over the next 40 years, he steered the small regional northeast firm into a national sales and distribution company with over 40 employees until his retirement in 1993.

In addition to his wife Shirley, he is survived by seven children:  Catherine (Timothy) McNeese of Baltimore, Maryland; David (Diane) Boone of Pittsburgh; Thomas Boone of Houston; Jonathan (Michele) Boone of Asheville, North Carolina; James (Courtney) Boone of Newport News, Virginia; Anne (Phillip) Pilewski of Mystic, Connecticut; and Douglas (Sheila) Morrell of Long Valley, New Jersey; 15 grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

Burial with full military honors will be in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia, at a later date.

Publication date: 9/19/2018

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