By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Theodore “Ted” Lumpkin Jr., a Los Angeles native who made history as a member of the all-Black Tuskegee Airmen unit, has died at 100.

Former U.S. Air Force Lt. Colonel Theodore Lumpkin Jr. of the Tuskegee Airmen, seen here at a May 2019 event, died from complications of COVID-19 in December 2020, just days before his 101st birthday. (Photo by Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images)

Lumpkin died of COVID-19 on Dec. 26 at a hospital, just days before his 101st birthday, Los Angeles City College announced Friday. Lumpkin earned an associate degree from the college in 1940.

He was a 21-year-old junior majoring in math at the University of California Los Angeles in 1942 when he was drafted into the military and was assigned to the 100th Fighter Squadron of the U.S. Army Air Corps — one of the famous all-Black squadrons of the 332nd Fighter Group — in Tuskegee, Alabama.

In January 1946, Lumpkin received an honorable separation from active-duty service and completed his undergraduate degree in sociology at the University of Southern California using education funds from the GI Bill. He was hired by Los Angeles County as a social worker and later earned a master’s degree in social work from USC in 1953.

He retired from social work in 1979 and launched a second career as a real estate agent.

In March 2007, Lumpkin was recognized with the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest honor Congress can bestow on a civilian, for his service to the country as a member of the Tuskegee Airmen.

LACC President Mary Gallagher said in a statement that the college community was saddened by Lumpkin’s loss.

“He served our nation with distinction and we are grateful for all of his contributions,” she said.

Lumpkin is survived by his wife, two sons, one daughter, several grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)