Edwin T. Nance, Lieutenant Colonel
April 13, 1926 – Died February 24, 2008
Edwin Thompson “T” Nance, Jr. was born in Shelbyville, Tennessee on 13 April 1926 and was appointed to West Point on a Senatorial appointment.
His West Point classmates recall: “Never was a man prouder of his Southern heritage than `T.' He constantly glorified famous Rebel leaders and Southern hospitality in a distinct Tennessee drawl. Russian with a southern accent was rough, but `T' found time for other activities. The Tennessee `Cuhnul' with his self-confidence and perseverance will reach any goal he may select, and he will select a worthy one.”
During his cadet days “T” was with the Ski and Skeet Clubs; went out for Football; was with the Pistol, Model Railroad, and Russian Clubs; was on the General Committee cow and first class years; and was a Cadet Sergeant his first class year.
Upon graduation “T” went in the Infantry and after completing the Basic Infantry Course at Fort Benning, Georgia reported to the 160th Infantry Regiment, 40th Division in Korea in 1952 and was awarded the Silver Star for distinguished gallantry in action; the Commendation Medal for distinguished service; and the Combat Infantryman Badge.
In 1962 “T” earned a Master's degree in Business Administration from Georgia State College and on completion was assigned to the 1st Special Forces Group in Okinawa and the Republic of Vietnam where he served from 1962 to 1965 and was decorated with the Legion of Merit for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services; the Air Medal for meritorious achievement beyond that normally expected, while participating in aerial flight; and a second Combat Infantryman Badge.
In 1966 “T” attended the Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas and on completion was appointed Battalion Commander with he 82nd Airborne Division where he served until 1967.
Then from 1967 to 1968 “T” served at Headquarters, XVIII Corps and then went to Headquarters, European Command to accept his last military assignment where he served until 1970 and was awarded the Joint Service Commendation Medal.
“T” retired in 1970 from the United States Army as a Lieutenant Colonel.
On retirement “T” accepted a position with the First Federal Savings and Loan Association where he served until 1975.
“T” made his home in Frisco, Colorado.
Addendum on 3-1-2008 by M-Co files of cadet days.
“”T” as everyone called him – was one of M-2`s favorite characters — always on the confederate side of any issue – but always friendly and the first to help out in any way he could. “T”`s mother was particularly influential and good for our class — she organized a night before graduation dinner in Highland Falls for our graduating M-2 class and all of our parents, friends and fiancées that were attending grad. next day — and I remember she reminded us that this would be the last time we would all ever be together again — and she was so right. She was declared our “M-2 Mother” until she died and was terrific at keeping us all informed about the activities of each other — we really missed her. T – made a big issue of identifying the 100 things he wanted to do before he died and one of them was to get a ride in an AF F-15 — and he was displeased with me for sometime when he thought I did not try hard to arrange it — he kept saying that it should be easy for an active duty Gen to do this for a good friend and that I didn`t care and wasn`t trying — did not like my answer which was that if he was a very important to the AF VIP – like a senator or governor that was in a position to help the AF I could probably arrange it – but other wise it just wasn`t in the cards — the chamber training etc.
One of my great connections with “T” was that we both had to take Russian and it was always a backward race to see which of us was the lowest in the class in Russian — only academic I had trouble with — but he and I really dragged the bottom in Russian. So you can say ‘Dos Vadonia Tovarish” – (probably spelled wrong but means “good by friend”) for me to “T” as he joins the long Grey Line.
“T” was one of 7 M-2 classmates that attended Bobby and my 9 June 51 wedding in Syracuse — Abshire was best man and “T” was one of the sword bearers!!
Don this not a whole lot — but maybe will help a little — call next few hours if I can help – Gerry
Dear Classmates, Libby et. al. Yesterday, February 28, 2008, a Memorial Service for “T” Nance was held at Our Lady of Peace Church in Dillon, CO and followed by a reception at “T”‘s home in Frisco, CO. It was an absolutely beautiful day and ski areas have had record snow fall — conditions that originally influenced “T” to settle here some 35 years ago. Obituary Quote — “‘T' will be sorely missed by family and friends and will rest at Arlington National Cemetery on May 14, 2008 with his fellow soldiers.”
The service was conducted by Deacon Jim Doyle. “T” was renowned for the diversification and depth of thought and knowledge. It appeared that his interest in theological areas increased in recent times. He and Deacon Jim through discussions developed a strong mutual respect and friendship. The service and Deacon's comments reflected these feelings and was just beautiful.
At the service we were fortunate to observe the fundamentals of “T” legacy. His children were all present: son – Bill, 3 charming daughters-Mary Byrd, Libby and Barbara, as well as stepson retired Colonel John Spears USMA '71. It was a delight to visit with them — lovely people — impressive! “T” should be mighty proud. Libby delivered the eulogy that was nothing short of magnificent! She told of childhood pranks with dynamite sticks and caps in that small Tennessee town up until his final days in Frisco, CO. She told the story with warmth, love and admiration. I hope she can deliver it again for all at “T”‘s interment ceremony and use it as a basis for his Assembly TAPS biography. It was Libby who so selflessly and graciously took care of her Dad during recent months. We all thank you Libby.
I thought the children might not have known about “T”‘s diverse activities and travels, and sought information for them, but I was wrong. As I said, “T”‘s eulogy was magnificent. Nonetheless, classmate condolences and comments nicely compliment the eulogy. I am sharing this information with “T”‘s family and did briefly share some of it with those present yesterday. I must thank those who forwarded emails: Bob & Margie Howes for a really superb and concise overview of “T”‘s life, Rocky & Joyce Milburn for illustrating “T”‘s love of skiing and his possible confusion of Deer Valley and heaven, Lew and Phyllis Casbon saying “hi” to Libby and sympathy, Gerry & and Bobby Hendricks for sharing the perspective of “T” as a Company mate and close friend. I have sent the latter to Libby and will send it to the class.Those expressing condolences and commenting by phone include George Meighen, Marie Foss, and Barnett & Betsy DeRamus(email also). Thanks to all.
In closing, I encourage you to read the Bio. written for our 50th Anniversary by “T” himself in “50 Years in Review.” Whereas it is masterfully done, it is not in alphabetical order because “T” was late in submitting it. It is on Page 298 after the “Z”‘s. It ends with a beautiful quote from “T” : “The greatest two things in my life are West Point for the Band of Brothers and my kids (Bill, John, Barbara, Mary Byrd and Libby) for they will still be here on this wonderful planet after I am long gone.”
God Bless, Don McGann
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.
Reviewed by: Michael Howard