More detail on this person: Fort Worth Star-Telegram (TX) - Saturday, April 26, 2003
FORT WORTH -- William A. Bearden, colonel, U.S. Army (ret.), died peacefully on Thursday morning, April 24, 2003, after a lengthy illness.
Memorial service: 2 p.m. Sunday at St. Stephen Presbyterian Church. Col. Bearden's ashes will be interred at a later date in Fort Sill, Okla.
Memorials: Gifts may be made in his name to St. Stephen Presbyterian Church or to the third floor rehab ward of the Osteopathic Medical Center.
Col. Bearden was the second son born to Essie Penland Ross and Fred Eugene Bearden. He began this life on March 26, 1923, in Spartanburg, S.C. An avid reader, he became, in many respects, a self-taught historian and initially pursued a career in music. With the advent of World War II, however, he enlisted in the infantry branch of the Army on Oct. 6, 1942, at Fort Jackson, S.C. It was a decision that ultimately led to his career with a specialty in Army aviation.
Col. Bearden served not only in World War II, but also in the Korean War and Vietnam War, as well as military police actions in the Belgium Congo and Morocco. For his service, he received the following commendations: National Defense Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Army of Occupation Medal (Germany), American Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, Air Medal with numeral 7, United Nations Service Medal, Korean Service Medal, Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with palm, Vietnam Service Medal with three bronze service stars, Meritorious Service Medal and Unit Citation and Presidential Unit Citation.
Later in his career, he was school brigade commander of the Primary Helicopter School at Fort Wolters. In 1973, he served as professor of military science at Texas Christian University until his retirement in 1974. After retirement, he remained active in several military retired service organizations, Meals on Wheels, and as a docent at St. Stephen Presbyterian Church.
In 1947, Col. Bearden married Stefanie Kopetzki, a young woman he met while acting as military governor of a hamlet near the Czechoslovakian border in Germany.
Survivors: His wife, Stefanie; their three children, William A. Jr. of Los Alamos, N.M., Robert L. of Walnut Creek, Calif., and Susan E. of Rush Springs, Okla.; and grandchildren, Jennifer Ann, Emily Jeanne, James William Bearden and Matthew Garrett Cope.
This information was last updated 05/18/2016
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