Lt. Colonel Thomas S. Pyle II, USAF (Ret), 85, passed away peacefully at home in Franklin, NC, on Sunday, March 15, 2020, surrounded by family. He was preceded in death by his parents Harry R. Pyle and Patricia Wright. In addition, he was preceded in death by his wife of 21 years Judy Avery Pyle.
Born in Wilmington, De, he grew up in southeastern Pennsylvania, graduating from Church Farm School in Exton, Pa. He then entered the University of Delaware, but soon enlisted in United States Marine Corps.
Lt. Col. Pyle was later commissioned as a United States Air Force navigator on June 10, 1966, attended Electronic Warfare School, and was assigned to Strategic Air Command, B-52, as a crewmember. In May 1966, Pyle received orders to the Wild Weasel Program, and trained in the F105F, arriving at Takhli RTAB, Thailand on July 4,1966. Pyle flew SAM suppression missions over North Vietnam.
On August 7,1966, Pyle was shot down north of Hanoi. He was captured and spent 6 ½ years as a POW. Pyle credits his faith as the motivating factor that kept him going through those hard times. He “Returned With Honor” on March 4, 1973.
Lt. Col. Pyle was awarded 2 Silver Stars, the Legion of Merit, 3 Bronze Stars, and 2 Purple Hearts for his service during the Vietnam conflict. Pyle retired from the United States Air Force in 1976, relocating to Marianna, Fla, later retiring from the civilian workforce in Pensacola, Fla, before moving to North Carolina with his wife Cheryl Montgomery Pyle.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by his daughters Stacey Lynn Sandifer (Brett) of Atlanta, Ga; Marissa Sue Pyle (Kelli Edson) of Tallahassee, Fla.; stepdaughter Catherine Ganley, Vicenza, Italy; step son Matthew Ganley (Alexandra), and 3 step grandchildren of Miami, Fla.
A funeral service and burial, with full honors, will be held at a later date at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Va.
Tom “fought the good fight, finished the race, and kept the faith”. He was a wonderful husband, father, grandparent, and friend, mentoring many with his ability to gently counsel. He will be greatly missed. The family asks in lieu of flowers, perform an act of kindness in his memory.
Online condolences may be made at www.maconfuneralhome.com
Macon Funeral Home is handling the arrangements.