FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Fort Worth’s last Tuskegee Airman was laid to rest on Thursday.
Robert Tennerson McDaniel lived to be 96 years old and leaves behind a rich legacy of service and love for family and community.
Dozens gathered at Shiloh Baptist Church in Fort Worth for his funeral on Thursday.
His son, Robert Mennefee said, “He was an educator, he was a father, he was Tuskegee Airmen.”
He was a 1940 Terrell High School graduate, leading his class as valedictorian, and had just started college at Prairie View A&M when he was drafted.
McDaniel was a World War II aviator, one of 932 young black men drafted into service and sent to train as pilots in Tuskegee, Alabama.
He would serve as a flight officer with the 477 Bombardier Group.
The aviator took part in a 1945 act of civil disobedience after being refused entry into a white’s only officers club.
He along with about 100 other Tuskegee Airmen were arrested as a result, but their actions later led to the desegregation of the U.S. Military.
The national president of Tuskegee Airmen Inc., Ret. Brigadier General Leon Johnson said, “What those men and women did was not black history, not military history. It’s American history.”
When he returned home from war McDaniel went back to Prairie View A&M College to finish where he left off. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and Chemistry, and a Master’s in Mathematics and Education Administration.
He went on to spend the rest of his professional career as an educator and principal at various Fort Worth ISD schools.
In 2006, he was awarded an honorary Doctoral Degree by Tuskegee University.
“He sets a model, and an example not just for me but my grandkids and great grandkids,” said Mennefee
In his honor, city of Fort Worth officials passed a resolution declaring Thursday March 28, 2019 as Robert Tennerson McDaniel Day.
His son said the overwhelming tributes to his father speaks to the legacy he leaves behind.
He would have loved it, but he would have taken it humbly I can tell you that for sure,” he said.
Robert McDaniel was buried at the DFW National Cemetery.