Col. Thomas H. Holbrook, USAF (Ret.) died on Saturday, February 13, 2010 at 7:40 p.m. of age-related causes. He was 93.
Tom was born on March 6, 1916 in Commerce. As a lad, he worked on the family farm located just out of town. He interrupted his college education at the University of Georgia to join the US Army Air Corps in 1938, almost a decade before it became the US Air Force. Tom met his wife, Vivian Smith of Portland, Ore., while stationed at Wheeler Field in Hawaii in 1940. They courted for a year and returned to the States shortly before the Pearl Harbor attack, and were married on January 3, 1942. Tom trained as a fighter pilot and moved to bombers in the lead-up to WWII. During the War he was assigned to the 8th Air Force’s 95th Bomb Group, based in Horham, England. He planned and provided air support for the D-day invasion and led the 95th in the Warsaw air drop. In all, he flew 29 missions with 245 hours of combat flight time. Shortly after the War, he returned home to complete his BA in Business at the University of Georgia. He returned to the military and served a total of 31 years in the Air Force. Some of his assignments included the Pentagon, SHAPE Headquarters in Paris, Andrews AFB, MD and Clark AFB in the Philippines, wrapping up at Barksdale AFB LA. Among many medals Tom was awarded over his three decades of service, those that meant the most to him were the Distinguished Flying Cross and Legion of Merit, both awarded twice, the Meritorious Service Unit Insignia, and the Polish Cross of Valor. Upon retirement, he moved back to his hometown area and ran a sporting goods store in Athens. After several years he sold the business to concentrate on his favorite pastimes, golfing and gardening. He and Vivian relocated to San Antonio in the autumn of 1988, where they lived many happy years together. His wife, Vivian preceded him in death in July 2001.
Survivors include three children, Nancy Megley, Philadelphia, Pa., Tom Holbrook, Jr., Smyrna, and Larry Holbrook, Eugene, Ore.; a nephew, Billy White, Chino Valley, Ariz.; and niece, Jean Campbell, St. Peters, Mo.
Memorial services will be held Thursday, March 4, at 10 a.m., at High Flight Chapel at Air Force Village II, 5100 John D. Ryan Blvd., San Antonio, TX 78245. An inurnment service will be held Friday, March 5, at 10 a.m. at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery with full military honors, 1520 Harry Wurzbach Rd., San Antonio, TX 78209, with Chaplain Bill Jacobs officiating.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the AFV Widows in Need Endowment, 5100 John D Ryan Blvd. San Antonio, TX 78245, Alzheimer’s Disease Research, 22512 Gateway Center Dr., Clarksburg, MD 20871 or the Alzheimer’s Association, 7400 Louis Pasteur Suite # 200 San Antonio, TX 78229.
Porter Loring Mortuary, San Antonio, Texas, 210-227-8221 is in charge of arrangements.