He died Monday, March 12, 2012, at Mississippi State Veterans Home in Oxford. Arrangements are under the direction of Boone Funeral Home, Leland.
He was born in Sayre, Beckham County, Oklahoma, on August 26, 1918, the fifth of nine children of Harley Halstead and Jessie Opal Crawford Pea. After high school, he served in the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) until 1940 when he enlisted in the US Navy. He was stationed aboard the aircraft carrier USS Lexington in the Pacific Ocean when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor December 7, 1941. He survived the sinking of the USS Lexington during the Battle of the Coral Sea in May of 1942. His 22 years of Naval Service was highlighted by his assignment at US Naval Ordnance Missile Test Facility, White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, during the early days of the space program. As a Chief Petty Officer, he supervised the enlisted men of the launch crew of the Aerobee-High rocket flights and received commendation from the Director of the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory.
In 1948 he married Inez Ferretti of Shelby, who predeceased him in June of 2008.
Upon retirement from the Navy in 1961, they owned and operated the Pea Patch Resort in Manitowish Waters, Wis. He was a faithful member of the Lions Club and served as an EMT with the Volunteer Fire Dept. In 1997, they retired to Shelby.
He is survived by a sister, Mary Pea, of North Kingstown, R.I., and his wife's nephew, John (Jane) Letchworth, his sister-in-law, Jutta K. Ferretti, all of Shelby, and many other nieces and nephews.
He was predeceased by sisters Irma Mae Creedy and Beulah Ruth Peterson of Wis., Leulah Rose Pebley and Cleoma Opal Axtell of Calif.; and brothers Jesse Thomas Crawford of Ariz., Harley Boone Pea and Richard Olin Pea of Calif.
Memorials may be sent to Bolivar County Humane Society, P.O. Box 1995, Cleveland, MS 38732 or MSVH-Oxford, 120 Veterans Drive, Oxford, MS 38655.
Online guestbook may be viewed www.boonefuneralhomeinc.com.