1918 – 2012
Moraga — William James “Bill” Cryer, who survived 35 combat missions over Occupied France and Germany during World War II, died peacefully at his family’s Moraga residence in October.
Mr. Cryer graduated with the Oakland High class of ’38, studied at Marin Junior College and UC Berkeley and married his high school sweetheart Muriel (Britt) Cryer in 1941, as America entered the war. Cryer joined the US Army Air Corps and, after getting his pilots’ wings, was dispatched to England to serve with the 8th Air Force, a unit that would win acclaim for its combat record and the wartime nickname “The Mighty Eighth.”
As aircraft commander, Mr. Cryer was at the yoke of his B-17 during 35 perilous missions over occupied Europe. He was subsequently awarded the Air Medal 5 times and the Distinguished Flying Cross, describing the pivotal bombing mission over the Normandy beaches on June 6, 1944 as a “milk run,” pilot’s lexicon for a comparatively easy mission.
At war’s end, Mr. Cryer returned to the Bay Area and the family boatyard, taking over in 1952 and running it in partnership with his brother Bob until their retirement in 1989. He remained an avid flier, continuing his Air Force service as a weekend warrior until his retirement as a Lt. Colonel.
Mr. Cryer was predeceased by his wife Muriel in 2010. He is survived by his son Bill Cryer (Helen) and his daughter Mary Ferro, 4 grandchildren; Brett Cryer, Melanie Cryer, Jason Ferro, and Christina Ferro Madrid as well as 3 great-granddaughters; Gianna, Emma, & Paige. A fourth grandchild is due next month.
A funeral mass will be held at St. Monicas Catholic church in Moraga on Friday, November 16 at 10 am. Donations in his memory can be made to Hospice of the East Bay or to the charity of your choice.