LODI, Calif. — Rex Morton Cantrell, beloved husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather and friend, went to be with his Lord and savior on the morning of Jan. 4, 2012, with his family by his side.
Rex was born to Malcom and Gertrude Cantrell on Feb. 13, 1921, in Billings. Rex served in the Army Air Corps 8th Air Force, 385th Bomb Group, WWII in Europe. He survived 28 bombing missions as lead navigator on the 551st B-17 Squadron. After the war, Rex met and married Phyllis Monroe and settled in Santa Rosa, Calif. Together, they raised four children and Rex became a successful businessman. After Rex and Phyllis decided to go their separate ways in 1973, Rex married his wife, Trish, in 1976 and together they lived in Santa Rosa and Dunsmuir, Mont., Shasta, Calif., and finally moved to Lodi in 2002. Rex and Trish enjoyed traveling and visiting children and grandchildren throughout their 36 years of marriage.
Rex enjoyed many hobbies throughout his life and was very active in many service organizations. He served as president of Toastmasters, Lions, Masons, The Wine Club of Sonoma County and The Navy League. He was a very skilled craftsman and master woodworker, creating many beautiful furniture pieces that he proudly gifted to his family throughout the years. Rex was also very involved with sport aviation. He was a member of the Civil Air Patrol, past president of Experimental Aviation Association chapter in Santa Rosa and active in many other aviation-related organizations. He was very proud to have completed a number of aviation projects in the 1950s into the ‘70s. He completely rebuilt a 1946 Taylorcraft, finished a partially built experimental monoplane and built two matched Pitts Special biplanes long before "kit aircraft" were even available with nothing more than a set of blueprints. As a pilot, Rex enjoyed both the building and flying activities of sport aviation, and the Sonoma County Airport became the family "hangout" over the years.
Rex will be remembered as a wonderful husband and father who, with his warm smile and outgoing personality, gave unselfishly of his time and abilities. He was a respected role model and enjoyed passing on his amazing "can-do" attitude and special talents on to his children.
Rex is survived by his wife, Patricia; children, Peggy Lockard (John), Ron Cantrell (Nancy), Kenneth Cantrell (Marilyn); many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his daughter, Sandy Eilers.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Hospice of San Joaquin. Specials thanks to Emeritis Austin Gardens for their genuine gentle loving care and assistance.
A memorial service will be held at the First United Methodist Church, 200 W. Oak St., Lodi, on Monday, Jan. 9, at 2 p.m.