COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Columbus native Donald E. Elder Sr., one of the original Tuskegee Airmen, has died. He was 93.

Elder died at his home on April 6.

Elder was born in Columbus on Sept. 9, 1928, and enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corp in 1946. He was assigned as crew chief for the 99th Fighter Squadron for the P-47 Aircraft Fighter Squadron, the first Black flying squadron and the first to be deployed overseas. He served in the Army from 1946 until 1949 when he was honorably discharged.

The Tuskegee Airmen, including Elder, were collectively honored in 2007 with the Congressional Gold Medal by President George W. Bush and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

He was the founding president of the Central Ohio Minority Affairs Representatives and a longtime member of the National Urban League and the National Association of the Advance of Colored People (NAACP). Elder was recognized nationally for his commitment to civil rights.

After retiring from Rockwell International Incorporated after 33 years, Elder took the job of Chief of Labor Relations with the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections, retiring in 1994. He retired from Bell Helicopter Textron in Fort Worth, Texas, in 2004.

Elder is survived by his wife of 42 years, Faye; two sons; one daughter; nine grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren; and one great-great-grandson.

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