Gerald C. Primm, 89, former pastor of Eller
Church in Greensboro,
died May 28 at Moses Cone
Known as a strong conservative leader in North
Carolina, Primm worked to restore the biblical roots
of the Southern Baptist Convention and the Baptist State Convention of North
“He served the Lord with all his heart and as the Scripture
says of others, ‘lived to be old and full of days,’” said Barry Nealy, director
of missions at Three Forks Baptist Association.
Paige Patterson, president of Southwestern Baptist
Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas,
called Primm a “great man.”
Primm fought in World War II as a fighter pilot. He flew 56
combat missions in a P-38 Lightning covering several countries.
“Gerald was a jewel of a man,” said CJ Bordeaux, pastor of Gorman
His exploits as a fighter pilot ranged from starting his
European service in Casablanca, to
starting his combat missions in Mateur, Tunisia,
in Northern Africa and in escorting bombers to Sardinia.
After Sardinia was liberated by the
Allies, he was stationed at Sardinia where he suffered
from a bout of yellow jaundice.
Six of his combat missions were flown out of Gioia del Colle
proper. The most harrowing was the mission to escort bombers to bomb a
ball-bearing plant in Wiener-Neustadt, Austria.
When the bombers arrived at Wiener-Neustadt they had to
abort their mission due to weather, but this just started the travails of Gerald
as the enemy were spotted.
Gerald counted about 25 of them and then another 35 were
spotted for a total of 60.
Outnumbered by 60 to 16, Gerald’s plane was fixed upon, and
a bullet knocked out his hydraulic system and one engine. His wing flaps were
not maneuverable and his landing gear would not deploy.
Gerald dismissed bailing out over Yugoslavia
and decided to skim the mountain tops and glide over the Adriatic
Sea. To compound Gerald’s problems a German plane was coming in
for the kill and one of Gerald’s fellow pilots, Jim Advey, came to the rescue
and drove the enemy fighter away.
They remained life-long friends after the war. Gerald’s
Wiener-Neustadt escapade ended as he spotted an airfield north of Foggia,
Italy, and Gerald crash
landed at 130 miles an hour without the plane somersaulting down the runway.
He is survived by his sons, John and Mark Primm, both of Greensboro;
a sister, Jean Purcell of Columbia, Md.;
a brother, Bud Primm of Greensboro;
and four grandchildren.