Fred Danner

Friday, December 11, 2009

SIKESTON, Mo. -- Fred Lee Danner, 87, of Sikeston died Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2009, at Missouri Delta Medical Center.

He was born July 13, 1922, in Hickman, Ky., to the late Ruben and Lillian Caldwell Danner.

Danner was self-employed in insurance sales, and had also been employed by Mitchell Insurance of Sikeston. He was a member of First Baptist Church of Sikeston, a member of the Lions Club, a former scoutmaster and past chairman of the United Fund Drive in Sikeston.

He was a U.S. Navy veteran of World War II, enlisting after having served in the Army National Guard. A trained expert rifleman, he went on to complete naval gunners mate school and later became one of the few to complete an additional electrical hydraulic engineering course.

His chief responsibility became to repair the big guns aboard ship, and he was the only person with the capability to do so. He was later assigned to train other gunners while awaiting for departure aboard the USS Cowell, a 2,050-ton Fletcher Class destroyer.

This ship went on to play a role in every major battle after Guadalcanal (in the Pacific Theater) until the end of the war. The ship worked with several task forces and was often called upon for shore bombardment to support landing troops as well. Their No. 1 duty, even if it meant the loss of their own ship, was to protect the precious aircraft carriers and heavy cruisers.

The USS Cowell received a U.S. Presidential Citation for valiant service in defeating enemy efforts to destroy her during the 1945 Okinawa Campaign. Fred received many decorations and honors for his participation in action while aboard the ship. He was also present at Tokyo Bay during the formal surrender of Japan.

He and Dorothy Glover were married Dec. 24, 1945, in Charleston, Mo. She preceded him in death May 25, 1996.

He was also preceded in death by a sister, Ruth Miller.

Survivors include a son and daughter-in-law, Greg and Mary Ann Danner of Cookeville, Tenn.; a sister, Dorothy Metje of New Albany, Ind.; and grandchildren, Matthew Danner of Cookeville and Katie and Cory Belvin of Augusta, Ga.

Visitation will be from 9 a.m. until time of service today at Nunnelee Funeral Chapel.

The funeral will be at 10 a.m. today at the chapel, with the Rev. David Ross, pastor of First Baptist Church in Sikeston, officiating. Burial will be in Garden of Memories Cemetery, with full military honors provided by Missouri Military Honor Guard.

The family requests memorial contributions be made to the American Cancer Society, c/o Judy Lopp, chairman, P.O. Box 343, Sikeston, MO 63801.