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John H. Grant Sr., Boeing manager

John H. Grant Sr., 85, of Philadelphia, an aircraft mechanic with the famed Tuskegee Airmen, died Monday, May 6, at the hospice unit at Women's Medical Hospital after a short illness.

John H. Grant Sr.
John H. Grant Sr.Read more

The following obituary has been changed since its first publication.

John H. Grant Sr., 85, of Philadelphia, who after military service as an aircraft mechanic went on to a long career in the aviation industry, died Monday, May 6, at the hospice unit at Women's Medical Hospital after a short illness.

Mr. Grant graduated with honors from Tuskegee (Ala.) Institute in 1949 with a major in aircraft technology. He served in the Army as an aircraft mechanic based in Guam.

His background encouraged his deep interest in the Tuskegee Airmen of World War II. He told his son, John Jr., that he believed the pioneer African American aviators never received the respect they deserved. So Mr. Grant was thrilled when their combat exploits and the prejudice they faced were chronicled in the movie Red Tails in 2012.

"Someone finally noticed," he told his son.

Mr. Grant went on to earn a private pilot's license for single-engine planes and parlayed his skills into a long career in the aircraft-manufacturing industry.

From 1961 until 1993 when he retired, Mr. Grant worked for the helicopter division of Boeing Co. Prior to his retirement, he was the quality assurance manager for Boeing helicopter dynamic components and transmissions.

The son of Eleanor Lewis and James Grant, Mr. Grant was born in Philadelphia and graduated from Murrell Dobbins High School. He majored in auto mechanics and earned a varsity letter from Dobbins' first football team in 1944.

In 1952, Mr. Grant married Carolyn Sawyer. The couple settled in Mount Airy.

Mr. Grant attended Mount Olivet Baptist Church as a youth and later joined Bethlehem Baptist Church in West Philadelphia. He was honored for 65 years of service.

He was a past master of Campbell Washington Joppa Masonic Lodge. On behalf of the Masons, he acted as a liaison to the Prince Hall Elementary School on North Gratz Street.

"Mentoring was one of the things he was most proud of," his son said.

Surviving, in addition to his wife and son, are a daughter, Marsha Grant Ford; three grandchildren; and a nephew.

The funeral will be at 11 a.m. Monday, May 13, at Grace Baptist Church, 25 W. Johnson St., Germantown. A viewing will be at 9 a.m. and a Masonic service at 10. Burial will be in Ivy Hill Cemetery.