Lloyd Edgar “Dabney” Kisner, Jr., 100, a lifelong restaurateur, hunter, fisherman, centurion and uncle, passed away on a snowy Tuesday morning, December 1, 2020, at Davis Memorial Hospital in Elkins from declining health.
Born January 13, 1920, at Frank, he was a son of the late Lloyd Edgar Kisner, Sr. and Edna Mae Graham Kisner.
Dabney had been a resident of Colonial Place in Elkins for the past two years, but he spent the majority of his life in Durbin and Frank in Pocahontas County.
As a teenager, Dabney helped his father build Kisner’s Store Building. The family lived upstairs and ran the general store downstairs.
He graduated from Green Bank High School where he played football.
In 1942, he entered Army Boot Camp, and in 1943 received his “Wings” from flight school in Texas. In 1943, he flew his first mission from Earls Colne, England, as a bombardier/navigator. After this mission, he was also a co-pilot in a five-man crew. On December 13, 1943, Dabney was shot down over Europe but made it back to White Cliffs, where the crew parachuted out. He landed in a minefield and was unconscious. U.S. soldiers carried him on a stretcher to the hospital. On December 24, he was released and, on Christmas Day 1943, he flew another mission and then 48 more. On May 25, 1944, Dragon Wagon B-26 was shot down over Liege, Belgium. He was rescued by the Belgian Resistance and hidden in several locations over the next five months. He worked with the Belgian Resistance as he helped them identify U.S. airplanes or enemy planes at night by the sounds of the motors. He was often hidden behind a closet door or in an attic.
Liege, Belgium was liberated on September 7,1944. Dabney rode on a U.S. tank through town and finally saw the front of the house where he had been hidden in the attic.
He was ordered to go to Paris for debriefing then returned to England.
Dabney was sent home on leave and he told the Statue of Liberty that she would never see him again. He never flew again. He reported back to the base for training on the Norton System, but chose to come home with his Honorable Discharge as a Lieutenant. He was awarded two Purple Hearts, a Distinguished Service Cross, the Air Medal for heroic action while participating in aerial flight, two Caterpillar Pins, and a Special Award from Belgium Red Cross.
On March 6, 1947, he married Irene Jones, of Elkins, on her birthday. They were married for 52 years. Dabney and Reeney were part owners of the Bartow Drive-Inn but sold their share when they opened the Pocahontas Motel and Restaurant at the top of Cheat Mountain in 1953. They operated this business until the 1990’s. The restaurant was famous for the German pot roast and homemade pies.
Reeney passed away in May 1999.
Dabney hosted hunting groups including deer, raccoon and bear hunters. He also raised hunting dogs for coon hunting. He was an avid fisherman and taught all his nieces and nephews how to fish. He spent hours making intricate fishing ties.
Dabney and Reeney moved to Olive, their mountain farm, when they retired. On this gentle farm, Dabney grew Christmas trees, raised peacocks and cared for his horses. He believed in protecting the environment and preserving wildlife before it was fashionable.
In 2011, Dabney bought a home in Frank across the road from his family’s store. In 2018, he moved into assisted living at Colonial Place in Elkins. On January 13, 2020, his family celebrated his 100th birthday with a party that honored his interesting life and adventures.
Dabney was a member of the Elks Club, the American Legion, the VFW and the Durbin United Methodist Church.
He was the last surviving member of his immediate family.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his sisters, Marguerite (Peg) Widney, Geraldine (Gerry) Lawton, Pauline (Polly) Mams; his brother, William (Bill) Kisner; and his in-laws, Dr. Franklin Widney, Eugene Lawton and Joseph Mams.
He is survived by nieces and nephews, Rebecca and Fred Benton, Marsha and Don Wehr, Sarah and Joe Burch, Jay and Doreen Widney, Kevin Widney, John Lawton, Barbie Stewart, Kathryn Herbert, Cathy and Jeff Orndorff, Franny and Karl King, Frank and Robin Mams, Barbie and Ronnie Pugh, Ed Calain and others on the Jones side of the family; many great- and great-great nieces and nephews; in-laws, Edith Kisner and Carol and Carl (Shorty) Erickson, Jr.; and his special friends, including Dave and Martha Ann Burner.
The family is grateful for the excellent care that Dabney received at Colonial Place and Davis Memorial Hospital.
Dabney and Reeney had a special place in their hearts for the Emergency Squad, as they helped seed money to establish it.
Contributions in his memory can be made to Bartow Frank Durbin Volunteer Fire and Rescue Company, PO Box 267, Durbin, WV 26264 or Meals on Wheels at Pocahontas County Senior Center, P.O. Box 89, Marlinton, West Virginia 24954.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic a small graveside service will be held at Arbovale Cemetery in Arbovale Saturday, December 5, with Rev. David Fuller officiating.
A memorial service with military honors will be scheduled for this coming summer.
Wallace and Wallace Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.