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Harry Key Jr. '47 August 6, 2019 8:46 AM updated: August 6, 2019 8:48 AM

Sneed Funeral Chapel obituary
201 East 3rd St
Lampasas, Texas 76550
Phone: (512) 556-1183

Harry Newton Key
March 19, 1926 - July 29, 2019

Harry Newton Key, Jr., age 93 of Lampasas, TX died peacefully Monday July 29, 2019 at home, after a life of service to his country, state, and community. Newton, as he was known, was born in Lampasas, March 19, 1926, the son of Harry Newton and Willie (Billie) Nuckles Key. In 1943, Newton graduated from Lampasas High School, where he was center and co-captain of the District champion football team. (In 2018, he was inducted into the Lampasas Football Hall of Fame.) He attended Texas A&M University briefly before entering the U.S. Naval Academy in 1944, where he also was a center on the football team. Following graduation in 1948, he commenced flight training in Pensacola. Upon receiving his wings in January 1950, he was assigned to Fighter Squadron 32 at Quonset Point, RI. Following a tour in the Mediterranean aboard the USS Leyte, the ship and his air group were ordered to Korea where Newton flew combat strikes against North Korean and Chinese Communist forces, for which he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, three air medals, and the Korean Presidential Unit Citation. After he returned from the Korean tour, on February 24, 1951, he married Cornelia Buck of Elmira, NY. (Newton’s aunt and Cornelia’s co-worker or supervisor, Rueben Nuckles had arranged their first meeting in New York City, just before Newton’s Mediterranean tour.) After brief duty in Sanford, FL, Newton was assigned as a flight training instructor at Cabinas Field, Corpus Christi. Next, after receiving training at the Philadelphia Naval Base, he was assigned to the anti-submarine carrier, as catapult and arresting gear officer. (During this period, while stationed at Quonset Point, RI, his son was born.) For two years he was assigned to Fighter Squadron 81 at U.S. Naval Air Station, Oceana, VA. For nine months he attended Naval Postgraduate Intelligence School in Washington, DC. From there he went to Naval Command and Staff School at the Naval War College, Newport, RI. He was then assigned to Commander-in-Chief Pacific Staff, Intelligence division in Honolulu. During this tour he was involved in the annual SEATO intelligence meetings in Bangkok. Here he was awarded the Joint Services Commendation Medal. He returned to the Naval War College in Newport as a staff member for one year, before an assignment commanding Jet Training Squadron 22 in Kingsville, TX. Upon completion of this tour he was assigned to the Pacific fleet aboard the amphibious helicopter carrier, USS Okinawa, as Operation and later Executive Officer. Home-based in San Diego, the ship served a tour of duty off the Vietnamese coast in 1968-69. Following shipboard duty he had nine months as a student at the Air War College in Montgomery, AL. From there he was assigned to the Pentagon as Special Plans Officer for the Defense Intelligence Agency, for which work he received the Legion of Merit. During this period he completed his thesis and obtained a Masters Degree in International Relations at George Washington University. He and his family then moved from Northern Virginia to London, for Naval Attaché duty at the U.S. Embassy for 3.5 years. His final tour was as Commanding Officer of the Philadelphia Naval Support Activity Naval Base. He retired as a Captain USN in 1978 after thirty years of naval service. Following retirement from the Navy he studied at the LBJ School of Public Affairs, at the University of Texas, Austin. He and Cornelia continued to live in Austin and he was employed by the Texas Department of Community Affairs, holding the positions of Director of Housing, Director of Drug Abuse Prevention, and finally Director of Economic Opportunity. He retired in 1984 to fulfill his life dream of ranching on his family land along the Lampasas River, overlooking which Cornelia and Newton built their home. They both tended their cattle for about thirty years, and were active in their church and community, Cornelia predeceasing him in 2015. He is survived by his son, Newton E. Key of Charleston, IL, his granddaughter, Jenny Renn Key of New Orleans, LA, and his sister Bonilee Garrett of Lampasas. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to First Presbyterian Church of Lampasas, or a charity of your choice.


Memorial Service
Saturday, August 10, 2019
11:30 AM

First Presbyterian Church
401 South Chestnut
Lampasas, Texas 76550

Saturday, August 10, 2019
1:00 PM

St. Mary's Episcopal Church
4th and Chestnut
Lampasas, Texas 76550

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