More detail on this person: LAFAYETTE - Funeral services will be held on Monday, September 15,
2014 at 12:00 p.m. at First Baptist Church in downtown Lafayette for Vernon E. Albert, 72, who
passed away on September 11, 2014 after a long battle with cancer.
Visitation with the family will be on Sunday, September 14 from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Delhomme Funeral Home on Bertrand Drive, Lafayette and at 11:00 a.m. until time of service on Monday, September 15 at First Baptist Church. The burial will follow the service at Lafayette Memorial Park Cemetery. A resident of Lafayette for over 40 years, Vernon was born in Lebanon, Pennsylvania on March 31, 1942 to the late Sarah P. and Carl H. Albert. The son of an Army officer, Vernon lived in Germany for six years starting in the late 1940's before his family settled in San Antonio, Texas.
Shortly after graduating from Douglas MacArthur High School and attending San Antonio Jr. College for two years, he went to work for the Army and
Air Force Exchange Services, which eventually took him to Fort Polk, Louisiana where he met his future wife in August 1962. In 1963, Vernon decided to enlist in the United States Army. When Vernon went to New Orleans to take the Army recruitment test, the helicopter flight school program first opened up and he decided to stay a couple of extra days to take the test. He was sworn into the Army on Good Friday, 1963 by his father and recruiting sergeant. According to the sergeant, Vernon was the first pilot to join the Army to go directly to helicopter flight school and then into combat. While home on Christmas leave from flight school in 1963, Vernon and Reatha were married.
Upon completion of flight school at Fort Rucker, Alabama, Vernon was assigned to Vietnam as a combat helicopter pilot. While serving in Vietnam, he accumulated over 1000 combat flight hours and 2408 combat sortie hours. His service in Vietnam earned him the Distinguished Flying Cross for volunteering for a middle of the night mission to rescue Army advisors who were trapped in hostile territory with no means of escape. He was also awarded several Air Medals and the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry for valor. He completed his Army career as a combat flight instructor at Fort Rucker, Alabama and was honorably discharged in 1967.
In 1967, Vernon joined Petroleum Helicopters, Inc. (PHI) as a helicopter line pilot. Earning his way to upper management, he served in management for 19 years and held the position of Vice President/Chief Pilot for 10 of those years. Vernon took every opportunity to serve the helicopter industry, not the least of which was being invited by NASA to fly as a guest test pilot in their microwave landing system tests in the late 1970's and early 1980's. Also during this time, Vernon had the opportunity to fly as an invited guest test pilot with Allison Detroit Diesel Aviation Engine Division. This project involved numerous flight test hours on enhanced engine performance and during which time he established three helicopter world speed records, which he still holds today.
Vernon was a long time member of Helicopter Association International (HAI), the association that manages the international helicopter industry. In the late 1980's, Vernon was elected by industry peers to six years of service to the HAI
international board of directors, serving one of those years as chairman of the
board. In 1995, HAI awarded Vernon the highest honor the industry has for service, the Lawrence D. Bell Memorial Award.
In 1994, Vernon retired from PHI and formed Albert & Associates, Inc., an aviation consulting firm servicing oil, insurance and aviation companies to enhance the safety of their programs. He was qualified in courts across the country as an aviation expert. However, one of the highlights of his career was the contract to work with the FAA in establishing the low altitude flight routes and the heliport system throughout the Atlanta area for the 1996 Summer Olympic Games. Vernon's career took him around the world, filling three passports along the way.
Vernon spent his spare time with his family and supporting his children and
grandchildren in their endeavors. He coached girls soccer in Lafayette for 10 years, including 6 years with a select team that won five state championships and was first runner-up at the US Youth regional tournament in 1989. He assisted in coaching the Comeaux High School girls soccer team to the 1993 state championship.
If Vernon were to choose to be remembered in any capacity, he said it would be that he was a man who loved the Lord, who believed in family, prayer, and divine guidance. He was faithful member of First Baptist Church, Lafayette for over forty years where he served as a deacon, was a member of the same Sunday School class since 1973 and volunteered in several ministries over the years.
Vernon will be greatly missed by his wife of over 50 years, Reatha Albert; his two children, Jeff Albert and his wife, Dr. Jennifer Miles, and Andrea Albert and her husband, Chip Carriere; and his grandchildren, Jessica, Emily, Jordan, Blake and Austin, who affectionately called him "Pop." He is also survived by his sisters, Isabel Meloni and her husband, Louis, of San Antonio, TX and Joyce Rodgers of Enterprise, AL and his brother-in-law, Nolan Richardson and wife Bess of Lake Charles, LA, and sisters-in-law, Gloria Grogger and husband Dean of Overland Park, KS and Rhetta Johnston and husband Tom, of Prairie Village, KS along with numerous nieces and nephews, an uncle and several cousins.
Vernon loved to spend time with his family and found it a privilege to take care of them. He and Reatha created a home where everyone was welcome. He was kind and humble and exemplified the fruit of the spirit (Galations 5:22-23). His family and friends will miss his gentle spirit, his big heart, his willingness to serve others, and his homemade ice cream.
Pallbearers will be his son, Jeff Albert; son-in-law, Chip Carriere; his grandsons, Jordan and Austin Carriere and Blake Johnson; and his brother-in-law, Nolan Richardson. The honorary pallbearers are the deacons of First Baptist Church, Lafayette.
The family would like to thank the medical staff at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX, Dr. James Cole, Dr. Jason Shumadine, Dr. Edward Breaux, Hospice of Acadiana and his nurse, Iggy Landry. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Miles Perret Cancer Services, 2130 Kaliste Saloom Rd., Suite 200, Lafayette, LA 70508, MD Anderson Cancer Center for research, P.O. Box 4486
Houston, Texas 77210-4486, or Hospice of Acadiana, 2600 Johnston St., Suite 200, Lafayette, LA 70503 or on their website at www.HospiceAcadiana.com.
Personal condolences may be sent to the Albert family at www.delhommefuneralhome.com
This information was last updated 05/18/2016
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