Rosten  DeFrates

Obituary of Rosten DeFrates

            Staff Sergeant Rosten R. DeFrates, 94, of Jacksonville, passed away peacefully Saturday morning, March 24, 2018, while holding his grandson’s, Tech Sergeant Gabriel A. DeFrates’ hand, at Heritage Health in Jacksonville.  Ross was born July 21, 1923, in Jacksonville, the son of Roy and Barbara DeFrates.  He married Deloris J. Clayton in 1948, and she preceded him in death in 1995.

            Ross is survived by two sons, William A. “Tony” (Karen) DeFrates of Titusville, Florida and Terry L. (Vicky) DeFrates of Peoria; three grandchildren, Andrea M. (Steve) DeFrates Williams of Florida, Gabriel A. (Marlene) DeFrates of Chicago, and Jordyn DeFrates of Chicago, one great-granddaughter, Presley P. Williams of Florida, and many nieces and nephews that he dearly loved.  The family would especially like to thank nieces Cindy Beddingfield and Patti Mullens, both of Jacksonville, who were constant companions to Ross and treated him more like a father than an uncle.  Ross was preceded in death by his parents, one sister, Maxine Linstromberg, and two brothers, Edgar DeFrates and Billy J. DeFrates, who was killed in action during World War II.

            As a child, Ross severely injured his right leg and was told he would never walk again.  He went on to serve in the United States Air Force from 1943-45, flying aboard B-24 and B-26 bombers in over 40 combat missions in North Africa and Europe.  During one mission, Ross’s plane, B-24 “Sally”, was badly damaged and crash landed in England before making it back to base, killing one crew member with another co-pilot losing fingers on one hand.  During another mission, Ross’s B-26 “Semper in Excretia” had its’ hydraulics destroyed and the landing gear had to be cranked down by hand.

            Ross was a Boy Scout Master for troop #103 at Centenary United Methodist Church for many years.

            Ross worked at Anderson-Clayton, later Kraft Foods, for over 40 years.   He was a member of the V.F.W. and AmVets. 

            After Ross and Deloris’ sons moved out, Ross took up running, and was known around Jacksonville as “The Runner.”  Ross was recognized by everyone and had many people over the years approach him and thank him for being their inspiration to start running.

            A funeral service will be held at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, March 27, 2018, at Williamson Funeral Home, with military rites to follow. Burial at a later date at Memorial Lawn Cemetery in Jacksonville.  The family will meet friends from 5 to 7 p.m. on Monday at the funeral home.  Memorials are suggested to the Land of Lincoln Honor Flight.  Condolences may be left online at