Retired U.S. Air Force Colonel David Frederic Ferree Sr., a former resident of Redlands, California, died July 27, 2008, in Fairbanks, Alaska, following a brief bout with cancer. He was 80.
He was born April 23, 1928, in Mattoon, Illinois, and grew up on the family farm with three brothers. For eight years he attended the same one-room school that his mother had attended.
He learned about farm life as he was growing up, and decided to turn to a different career.
After high school graduation in 1946 he obtained a congressional appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy. He graduated in June 1951 as a member of the 24th Company and chose a commission in the U.S. Air Force, serving for 30 years. He specialized in civil engineering and advanced to the rank of Colonel.
Ferree served three tours of duty in Southeast Asia and one in Europe.
His family said he was particularly proud of his duty in Tactical Air Command at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, where he was Chief of the Civil Engineer Research and Development Office, creating air mobile structures and utility systems for base combat operations.
They said he also enjoyed a tour of duty as commander of the U.S. Air Force 400-man 554th Civil Engineer Squadron in Thailand.
In addition to civil engineer work, he served four years as an associate professor of air science in the Air Force Reserve Officers' Training Corps Detachment at the University of South Carolina.
He served as the base Civil Engineer at Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska; Bolling Air Force Base in Washington, D. C.; and Norton Air Force Base in San Bernardino.
His military awards include the Air Force Legion of Merit, two Meritorious Service Medals, four Air Force Commendation Medals and various combat theater and marksmanship ribbons.
He was a life member of the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Disabled American Veterans.
He did much volunteer work with the Boy Scouts and was a member of the Sons of the American Revolution.
Ferree retired from the Air Force in 1981 in Redlands, then worked 10 years as a facilities manager for school districts in Pomona and Riverside.
In 2003, after 23 years in Redlands, he and wife, Doris, moved to Fairbanks, Alaska, to join their five sons and their families.
Survivors include his wife, Doris Thelma Stout Ferree, formerly of Charleston, South Carolina, whom he married in 1951; and sons Dave Ferree Jr., George Ferree, Steve Ferree and John Ferree and their families, all of whom live in Fairbanks, Alaska. Youngest son Patrick Ferree died of cancer in 2004.
His ashes will be inurned at Arlington National Cemetery. A memorial service in Alaska was private.
Memorial donations may be made to the Pat and Vicky Ferree Patient Support Endowed Fund, Component Endowment Account No: E0011041, University of Texas, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, PO Box 4464, Houston, Texas 77210-4464.
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Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
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