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1919 Gussie Rasner 2020

Gussie Rasner

November 23, 1919 — December 30, 2020

Gustav “Gussie” Charles Rasner, aged 101, of Robinson, Texas passed away quietly in his sleep on December 30, 2020. Gus was born in Spunky Flat, Texas (Falls County) on November 23, 1919. His father, Robert Paul Rasner, died in June of 1935, leaving the family without a primary breadwinner. It was the middle of the Great Depression and on the farm the dust bowl hit causing crop failures, which devastated the family finances. As there were other mouths to feed, the oldest son, Gus, was forced to grow up quickly to help provide for his widowed mother and his two siblings. During that era, jobs were scarce and he determined from radio broadcasts that a war was iminent and as a result sought and obtained an age waiver and he joined the army at 16.
Upon enlistment, he was trained as a master mechanic and at one time, early in his career, was recognized as the youngest master sergeant in the U.S. Army. He began sending money home immediately to support the family, a practice he continued during his entire career in the military. In his early years in the army, he was sent to Puerto Rico where he was the Senior NCO. At that time, the Germans were operating U-Boat submarines under the island in order to attack US merchant marine shipping which was instrumental to the survival of Great Britain prior to U.S. entry in to WW II. Once the U.S. entered the war Gus was deployed to Europe and was subsequently transferred to the Army Air Corps repairing and maintaining planes. Eventually, he joined the Air Force and became part of the Strategic Air Command. Because German was his first language he also served with Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the precursor to the CIA.
During World War II, Gus was deployed to Germany and was given the job of interpreter as well as working on undercover missions. In addition, he interrogated Nazi soldiers, and was one of the first to arrive at the Dachau Concentration Camp to assess the atrocities. He was also intermittently assigned to the Benicia Arsenal in northern California where he met his future wife, Doris Azevedo, a secretary at the Arsenal. They eventually eloped to Reno, Nevada in 1945.
After the war ended, Gus was stationed around the globe, including some assignments at James Connally Air Force Base in Waco as an air inspector and recruiter, a base from which he would eventually retire. At other times during his career, he was deployed to Anchorage, Alaska (a territory at the time prior to its acceptance as a state) as well as stationed at other bases including, Chanute, Illinois, Cheyenne, Wyoming, Travis, AFB, and globally throughout the Middle East and Asia.
His final Air Force assignment was in Turkey where he spent a year conducting clandestine operations before returning home after 27 years in the military. During his yearlong deployment to Turkey, as Senior NCO, he was stationed in 1960 at a remote post along the border with Communist Soviet Union during the height of the Cold War. Years later he revealed that one of his assignments included leading search parties for downed U-2 Spy pilot Francis Gary Powers as well as monitoring the accuracy of Soviet missiles. Gus retired from the U.S. Armed forces in the summer of 1962 as a master sergeant.
After leaving the military, the Rasner family settled in Robinson, Texas where Gus owned and operated several businesses, including a lumber yard. In addition, he purchased, developed, and managed properties in the Robinson and Waco area where he lived until 2019.
Gus is preceded in death by his parents Robert Paul Rasner and Clara Henrietta Sophie Moehlmann Rasner, his brother Leslie August Rasner, and his sister Eleanora Pauline Rasner Hinze. He is survived by his wife of 75 years, Doris Joan Azevedo Rasner (age 96) of Robinson, Texas, his four children Janine Doris Whatley (Dannie Whatley) of Waco, Texas, Robert Leslie Rasner (Debra Lynn Rasner) of Waco, Texas, Candyce Anne Rasner Jones (Jeffrey David Jones) of Austin, Texas, Gustav Charles Rasner (Sarah Binion) of Austin, Texas, his eight grand-children Christopher Robert Duncan, Kimberly Diane Duncan, Ashley Erin Rasner Sutton (Eric Sutton), Shelby Alexis Rasner, Jeffrey David Jones II, Coleman Charles Jones, Samuel Robert Rasner, Hallie Anne “Ray” Rasner, and three great-grandchildren.
A Celebration of Life service will be held at a future date. In lieu of flowers, a donation can be made in honor of Gus Rasner to the Wounded Warrior Project.
To send flowers to the family in memory of Gussie Rasner, please visit our flower store.

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