WWII veteran dies at 97

Paul Yadlosky and his son Mike. Map shows routes Paul traveled escorting U.S. soldiers home.

Paul Yadlosky, a World War II veteran, died recently at the age of 97.

After moving to Burbank from Ely, Minnesota, in his late teens for a position at Lockheed Aircraft during the war, he was soon drafted. Yadlosky’s machinist skills learned at Lockheed led to him repairing engines for many B-24 Bomber planes.

Though Yadlosky wasn’t able to follow his dream of becoming a pilot in the U.S. Army Air Corps, he was still able to travel the world, as his unit was tasked with flying wounded soldiers and officers home after the war, traveling to Italy, Casablanca, Cairo and Brazil.

After being honorably discharged in 1946, Yadlosky went to school to become a teacher while continuing to use his machinist skills.

Paul Yadlosky basic flying school 1943.

“He was really good with his hands,” Yadlosky’s son Mike said, adding that he taught auto shop, metal and woodworks. “He was always tinkering in the garage or the garden.”

Mike remembers his father teaching him how to take apart a car and rebuild the engine, which came in handy when Mike blew up the transmission to his mom’s car and was grounded until he fixed it.

Yadlosky’s oldest child, Terre York, agreed completely, adding that he started teaching her how to use tools when she was just 6 or 7 years old.

“He could make anything,” York said. “I always followed him around in the workshop, and he was really interactive with me.”

Paul Yadlosky lived at Pacifica Senior Living until his death in September 2019. Courtesy

Yadlosky and his wife, Shirley, had four children — three daughters and one son — who Mike said Yadlosky “kept busy.”

“He was really into camping, and we went on a lot of camping trips where we stayed in tents and cooked on little stoves,” Mike said. “He also took me to the Indian Guides and was chief (for a time).”

York said he even taught them how to classify plants as well as how to fish and made sure they saw many of the national parks, including the Sequoias and Yosemite.

“He was really very good with us in terms of teaching us, like making sure we picked up litter,” York added. “He taught his kids how to be good citizens.”

Paul and Shirley’s wedding photo Aug. 30, 1947.

After retiring, Yadlosky resided in Desert Hot Springs with Shirley until her death in 2015. They had been married for 67 years.

“Her death was really rough on him as she always catered to him,” Mike added.

Since then, Yadlosky had been living at Pacifica Senior Living in Newhall, which Mike said he enjoyed as he had a great social life there.

“He started to perk up when he moved there,” York added, “and I swear he became younger.”

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