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Clara Estelle NOAH PREDDY(1893 - 1974)


"Aunt Clara" was actually my grandaunt. She was a sister of my grandfather, Lawrence Raymond NOAH, Sr. Clara was the oldest child of Lawrence Rhodes NOAH and Jonnice WATSON. She was born 8 Nov 1893 in Fayetteville, NC - the home of her mother. Soon after she was born the family came to Guilford County, NC which had been the home of her father. On 21 Dec 1916 Clara married George "Earle" PREDDY, son of George Madison PREDDY and Sarah Caroline MORGAN of Stokesdale, NC. Clara and my grandfather, Lawrence, were close besides being brother and sister. Unfortunately, I did not become interested in genealogy until after their entire generation had passed away. I do know that Clara, Lawrence and their families lived in Greensboro. I do know that Earle PREDDY and my grandfather both worked on the railroad. I also know that Earle PREDDY came from Stokesdale and Lawrence's wife (my grandmother), Nell M. JOHNSON also came from Stokesdale.

"Aunt Clara" was always a cheerful person when we visited in spite of the fact that she had more than her share of heartbreaks. Of their four children, only one lived past the age of 25.

Children Of Clara NOAH PREDDY (1893 - 1974)
1. Jonnice Carolyn PREDDY was the first child. She was born 18 Nov 1917 in Greensboro. She was no doubt named after Clara's mother. Jonnice is not a usual spelling. She married James Aubry FAIRCLOTH. They had a son, James Aubry "Johnny" FAIRCLOTH, Jr. I do not know (and have never asked) the circumstances of Jonnice's death. She died when Johnny was a week old. Another source said that she died in childbirth. Earle and Clara raised Johnny, who later became the Police Chief of High Point, NC.

2. George Earle PREDDY, Jr. was born 5 Feb 1919. George was intellectual. He finished high school when he was 16. He was also athletically inclined in spite of his small size. He not only played tennis as often as possible, he opened a soft drink concession at a nearby tennis court in the WWI Memorial Stadium to earn spending money in the summer. His nickname was "Mouse". It has been said that the nickname came from his small stature and his big ears. He called his drink stand the "Mouse Hole". He was always a scrapper. Much has been written about his exploits as the top P-51 Mustang ace of World War II. This is about George as a person. He was popular. He loved girls and they loved him. He also had another love - shooting craps. Keep in mind - this is not factual history. This is just what I have been told. George named his planes Cripes A'Mighty. The story is that he shouted that phrase as he rolled the dice shooting craps. There is another craps story. History recalls that George shot down six German ME-109's in about five minutes on 6 Aug 1944. What history does not tell us that his love for craps gained him winning of $1200.00 the night before this mission. Between the crap shooting and the drinking, he almost missed the mission that made him famous. Major George E. "Ratsy" {I guess the military thought "Mouse too mild a nickname] Preddy was shot down by friendly fire on Christmas Day of 1944.

3. Rachel Watson PREDDY was the child that lived past the age of 25. The last I heard she is alive and well so we will leave out any details about her.

4. William Rhodes "Bill" PREDDY was born 20 Jul 1924. He became a fighter pilot like his brother. He was shot down 17 Apr 1945 over Czechoslovakia.


To Aunt Clara, both of her sons were heroes. She was right, even if George is the most well known. Visiting Aunt Clara's home as a teenager, I remember their medals displayed in a case that was always lighted.

Bill was in flight training when his brother came home on leave in the fall of 1944. George had gone through the pomp and ceremony in Washington before returning to Greensboro for a hero's welcome party. This was held at the World War I Memorial Stadium. He gave many speeches while there. He also announced his engagement to Joan Jackson. They had planned to marry following the war. Then George and his family visited brother Bill at the flight training school in Venice, FL. They took two fighters up for a "mock" dogfight. George was amazed at his brother's flying ability and knowledge of air tactics. I believe personally that if Bill had lived longer he would have accomplished as much as George. George returned to Greensboro before heading back to the war. He did not have to return, but he felt that his mission was not over. While back in Greensboro, George did another thing that shows the type of person he was. He was invited to a radio broadcast to tell the people about himself. Apparently, whoever introduced George told all that George wanted to hear about himself. He spent his time talking about another Greensboro native who had made a significant contribution to the war effort. Edward R. Murrow was at the war. He was in London during the blitz. He rode a bomber to Berlin during a raid. He was there at the invasion of Normandy. He brought the news of the war to the American people as no one else could.

Not long after returning to the war, George was killed. At the time, Bill was in England on his way to the war. Clara and Earle could have had Bill avoid any combat duty. Bill would not hear of it. He was going to continue what his brother had begun.

Both brothers were heroes. Both were shot down in combat flying P-51 Mustang fighters. Both are buried in the Lorraine American Military Cemetery, St. Avold, France. There is a display at the Greensboro Historical Museum honoring them. Preddy Boulevard in Greensboro is named for Major George E. Preddy and 1st Lt. William R. Preddy.

PREDDY MEMORIAL FOUNDATION - The purpose of the Foundation is to ensure that Major George E. Preddy, Jr., his brother Lt. William R. Preddy, and their comrades at arms will continue to be honored for their significant contribution to victory during World War II. The Foundation has a website at Preddy Memorial Foundation.


There are only two major Air Force installations in NC: Pope and Seymour Johnson. Many air bases are named for famous aviators native to the area in which the air base is located. Some air bases have been renamed. The Preddy Memorial Foundation seeks petitioners to have Pope AFB renamed Pope-Preddy AFB in memory of the Preddy brothers. You can see and/or sign an online petition at Pope-Preddy Air Force Base (