SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– More than 16 million Americans served in World War II and sadly there are only a few left.

Glenn Lawson passed away at age 97 recently. The Windyville native wore many hats in his lifetime: a pilot, educator, author painter, and even a writer.

His daughter, Robby Bryan, says above all he was a good man.

“He was a hero in every way, as a dad, family member, war hero, his gentleness, he loved everybody,” said Bryan.

Legally, Glenn Lawson was Bryan’s step-father, but to her and her siblings, he was their dad.

“He raised us, we were teenagers when he married our mom,” said Bryan. “That in itself makes a hero to get through three teenagers.”

Glenn was a man of many interests and talent. He loved to teach and was actually the principal at Bryan’s school before marrying her mother Racquel. It took Bryan quite a while to stop calling Glenn Mr. Lawson.

“So, it took me a long time to call him dad and not Mr. Lawson,” said Bryan. “I would call him sir and he would say you can call me dad.”

Like many men of his generation, Glenn enlisted at the age of 20 after the U.S. was drawn into World War II. He served in the army air force as a radio operator on B-17’s and flew 20 missions into Germany helping the Allies win the war.

“One time there was oil leaking from their B-17 and he sees it and the gunner sees it and they go tell the pilot,” said Bryan. “They have parachutes on getting ready to eject and the pilot sees two small lights and lands the plane.”

Although Glenn wrote a book about his service, his children didn’t hear much about those missions until later in Glenn’s life. He didn’t open up about his service until he took his Ozarks Honor Flight to Washington, D.C.