Anita Lamae (Allen) Colgan, the wife of Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame 1996 inductee
Colonel William B. Colgan, USAF (Ret) and a noted author of books on combat action in
World War II, died on April 13, 2012 in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. In a marriage of 68 years,
an amazing epic life together, Anita has touched the hearts of many people. A much beloved
"Mom" to four generations of her family, and a World War II home front heroine, Anita Allen
was born on March 19, 1924 and grew up in Waycross, Georgia; where she was a majorette
and honor student in high school and attended college at (now) Valdosta State.
In July 1943, during World War II, she married hometown sweetheart Bill Colgan, a fighter
pilot, USAAF. While he was in combat in Europe, she chose home front war work. At age 20,
she replaced a night manager of the Western Union in Waycross; which serviced an entire
county, a major rail center, several war industries and an Army Air Field. And in World War II
(before fax, Internet, e-mail, etc) telegrams were crucial to the war effort and between the
troops and their loved ones.
She did this each night, alone, except for one helper, a young fellow, Pernell Roberts
(later of movie/TV fame), who delivered telegrams. She was the first to see incoming war
casualty telegrams -- many naming friends/classmates -- and the next one could be
addressed to her, naming her husband or brother. She played a major role in war
communications, and her job was a key link in the war-time lives of many people and
servicemen and servicewomen.
After the war, her husband back home, she continued a heroine, as a wife and mother in
a career military family with duty stations in the USA, Europe and the Pacific. Twice more she
held the family home front during wars, her husband to Korea and Vietnam. She took a
cherished part in the "military family" -- a life long church member -- a volunteer in chapel,
school, and youth activities -- and as another "Mom" to young service wives. There was a
wealth of treasured friends. Always supreme was her love and devotion to her own family, with
"just being together" the greatest time of all.
Anita Colgan is featured in "Home Front America" at the National World War II Memorial,
Washington, DC and with her picture in the Memorial's Special 2004 Calendar "Tribute to a
Generation." She also is in the World War II Home Front National Historical Park, Richmond
CA, and with her husband in the Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame, Warner Robins, GA. This
precious loss from the "Greatest Generation" and America, was preceded in death by son
William B. Colgan, Jr. and brother John L. Allen. She is survived by husband Colonel William
B. Colgan, USAF (Ret), daughter Sandra Colgan, grandson Dallas E. Lowe, granddaughter
Heather Magouirk, and six great grandchildren.
Loss of a Home Front Heroine,
from the "World War II Generation".