Wilfred DeFour, one of the famed Tuskegee Airmen, died in his Harlem home at age 100 on Saturday, December 8.
The Associated Press reports DeFour was discovered unresponsive by a health aide around 9 a.m. Upon the release of a medical examiner's autopsy, his family believes he passed due to natural causes.
DeFour was a man of modest means. A neighbor told the New York Daily News he moved into the Riverton Square apartments in the 1940s. Most of his family passed on years ago.
Following basic training, DeFour became a member of the Air Corps in 1942. He served as an aircraft technician in the 366th Air Service Squadron for the famed Red Tails.
The squadron fought Nazis in the skies of North Africa, Sicily and Italy. DeFour was primarily stationed in Italy during his deployment.
For his service, DeFour was celebrated by the community during a renaming ceremony for the Macombs Place post office in Harlem.
"We didn't know we were making history at the time,” DeFour, said during the renaming ceremony. “We were just doing our job."
It was renamed the Tuskegee Airmen Post Office Building to honor the brave men who served this nation.
He also received two plaques celebrating his 100th birthday and another commemorating his role as an airman.
After his time in the armed forces, DeFour worked for the U.S. Postal Service for 33 years, reports Fox 8.
He spent the later years of his life visiting elementary schools, teaching children about the role the airmen played in turning the tide in World War II.
“We need to spread the word to let them know what went on in our time. It’s history.”
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