Byron “Barney” Phelps was born on May 5, 1922, the only son of Byron and Leah Phelps, of North Hollywood, Calif. He had one sister, Lauralea, who preceded him in death.
A 30-year resident of Moab, Byron died of natural causes in Grand Junction, Colo., on Jan. 10, 2012.
He served his country as a P-38 pilot in the European Theater of Operations during World War II, flying missions over occupied territory before, during and after D Day. Shot down near occupied Paris on June 14, 1944, he was held as a prisoner of war until liberated by General Patton’s Third Army. He was later recalled and served at Kunsan Air Base during the Korean Conflict.
In 1945, he married his high school sweetheart, Jean Ann Bright, and together they enjoyed 65 years of marriage before Jean’s passing in November 2010. They had three sons, eight grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren. His strong faith in the Lord Jesus Christ was manifested to all who knew him well and sustained him through many difficulties, most notably the loss of his dear wife in recent months.
After retiring from Pacific Telephone, where he worked as a senior engineer, Barney moved with his bride to Moab. Over the next three decades they traveled thousands of miles on Utah’s Jeep trails and greatly enjoyed their many friends and Jeeping partners nearby and from as far away as California, Texas and the East Coast.
The family thanks the many residents of Moab who helped make Barney’s years here so enjoyable. They especially appreciated the Red Rock 4-Wheelers for serving as pall-bearers, which they considered a great honor shown to their dear father and grandfather.
Barney is survived by a son, Byron F. Phelps III, of Boulder City, Nev.: and a son and daughter-in-law, Jack and Debra Phelps, of Palmer, Alaska. A third son, Bruce S. Phelps, of Clifton, Colo., preceded his father in death.
Donations in lieu of flowers may be sent to Hospice & Palliative Care of Western Colorado, Grand Junction, Colo.; Hospice of Grand County, Moab, Utah or Providence Reformed Evangelical Church of Grand Junction, Colo.