Carl Reed Vanderhider passed away Saturday, Sept. 19, at Hendrick Medical Center in Abilene. He was 78.
Born in Liberty, Texas, on Jan. 24,1942, Carl was the eldest son of Ora Gertrude (Reed) and James Herbert Vanderhider. He graduated from Liberty High School in 1959 and Texas A&M University in 1963 with a degree in mathematics.
As a child and teenager, Carl was a Cub Scout, Boy Scout, and Explorer Scout. He earned the rank of Eagle Scout and received the God and Country Award. He was also a member of the Order of the Arrow.
Carl was in Air Force ROTC and joined the United States Air Force as a second lieutenant after graduating from Texas A&M. He attended navigator school at James Conley Air Force Base (AFB) in Waco, Texas, training as a B-52 electronic warfare officer. During the Vietnam War, Carl flew 200-plus combat missions over three tours of duty. Other highlights of his military service included an assignment at Strategic Air Command headquarters within Offutt AFB, Nebraska, and work instructing Air Force ROTC at Texas A&M. During his military career, Carl advanced his education and earned a MA degree in industrial management from Central Michigan University.
He retired from military service as a major at Dyess AFB in 1985. After leaving the armed forces, Carl worked for Boeing, Lockheed and Meers Engineering.
Carl wed Cherrie Marie (Lott) on Sept. 7, 1963. They were married for 48 years before her passing in 2011. He then married Frances Virginia Parramore (Thinnes) on Feb. 28, 2015. He was a faithful member of Broadview Baptist Church, where he served as deacon, a small group leader and a mission team member on trips to El Salvador, Brazil, Romania, the Rio Grande Valley, Oregon and South Dakota.
One of Carl’s most cherished hobbies later in life was to enjoy the wide-open spaces at the Parramore Ranch. He never met a stranger and that included several relationships with the cowboys working cattle on the ranch. His weekly visits were a blur of constant construction projects, from house and barn remodeling to plumbing and electrical fixes. Most of all, he loved to drive the tractor. Carl could be found out there most Tuesdays, in the hot or cold, riding and working the land.
Carl was preceded in death by his father, mother, son Jeff, brother Alan, and wife Cherrie.
Carl is survived by his wife, Virginia, of Abilene; his daughter, Russell Ann Wilson and husband Derrick of McKinney; two stepsons, Billy Thinnes of New Orleans and Mark Thinnes and wife Trista of Ft. Worth; five grandchildren, Cassia and husband Silas, Alizah, Heston, Eli Reed and Bethany; three step-grandchildren, Morgan, Madison and Nolan; and one great-grandson, Colt.
Visitation and funeral services will be Friday at Broadview Baptist Church, 2500 South 27th, Abilene, with Rev. David Cason, Rev. Wes Terry and Rev. Burtis Williams officiating. Visitation begins at noon and the funeral service is scheduled for 2 p.m. Burial will follow at Buffalo Gap Cemetery.
Pallbearers will be Randy Billings, Alan Bridgestock, Billy Thinnes, Mark Thinnes, Derrick Wilson and Heston Wilson. Eli Reed Wilson will serve as special assistant pallbearer.
In lieu of flowers, please direct memorial contributions to Hospice of the Big Country, Broadview Baptist Church Missions Program or the charity of your choice.
Throughout Carl’s life he was known for his tireless hard work, sense of humor, dedication to spreading the gospel, love for country and a zest for life that was contagious. He will be missed by all who knew him.
Please share condolences and fond memories here: HamilFamilyFuneralHome.com.