William G. (Bill) Dodd finished his earthly journey on October 16, 2012 at the age of 88. He was born in McAlester, Oklahoma on February 2, 1924, to George and Ellen Dodd. The family moved to Durant in 1928. He attended Northward (Washington Irving) and graduated from Durant High School in 1942. He attended Southeastern where he lettered in football and basketball. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps fully intending to graduate but he was called into service in January 1943. He went through pilot training and graduated in March 1944 receiving his wings and 2nd Lt. bars at Lubbock Army Air Field, Texas. He received B-24 (Liberator) training, joined his crew of 10 and was sent directly to the Pacific to participate in liberating the Philippines (He was only 19). After 39 missions with the “Long Rangers” he returned to the States, and decided to make a career of flying with the military. In December 1946, he married Virginia Gibson after a four year “friendship”. His 24 years in the Air Force included many important assignments – including the Berlin Air Lift, medicinal air evacuation during the Korea War, Chief C-97 pilot Pacific Division, and graduate of Command and Staff College at the Air University. He received a prestigious diamond lapel pin from the Military Air Transport Command for over ten thousand hours of accident free flying.
He requested voluntary retirement in August 1966 to accept a position at Southeastern’s Aviation degree program. He retired from Southeastern in 1984.
Although flying was his passion, he loved fishing and spending time with his growing family. He was a faithful member of the First Presbyterian Church as an Elder and Sunday school teacher. He truly was a loving son, husband and father and was a gentle, peace-loving man.
He is survived by his wife Virginia of 65 years, sons Jeff, Bill, Jr. and his wife Amy, daughter Ginger Bedwell and husband Gary. Granddaughter Céce Pearson and husband Dack, Granddaughter Monique Gray and husband Wes, Granddaughter Carrie Bauck and husband Warren, Granddaughter Sarah Bristow and husband John, Granddaughter Kelsey Dodd, Grandsons Ryan Dodd, Philip Dodd, Nate Dodd and Caleb Bedwell. Great Grandchildren Bethanie Gray, Dru Pearson, Trevor Reid, Micah Bristow, Brayden Gray and Niah Pearson. Nieces Dede Dodd, Susan and Nancy Naegle and Nephew Doug Dodd.
He was preceded in death by his parents George and Ellen Dodd and one brother, Lloyd Dodd.
A celebrate of his life will be held at the First Presbyterian Church on Monday October 22, 2012 at 3:00 p.m. Full military honors will be held at Highland Cemetery following the service. A family and friend’s fellowship will be held at the church following the gravesite service.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the First Presbyterian Church and Goodland Academy.
Family and friends may send online condolences and view tributes www.holmescoffeymurray.com.
Services are under the direction of Holmes-Coffey-Murray Funeral Home, Durant, Oklahoma.