James Clifford Rike – Colonel, United States Army

From a contemporary press report:

James Clifford Rike, 80, an Annandale resident who was a retired Army colonel and aviator and who was a heavily decorated veteran of three wars, died October 3, 1998 at Inova Fairfax Hospital, Virginia. He had pneumonia and myositis, a connective tissue disorder.

Colonel Rike, who had lived in the Washington area since the early 1960s, was a Texas native. He enlisted in the Army on December 8, 1941. During World War II, he was a glider pilot in Europe, participating in the D-Day landings and in the struggle for the Rhine in Belgium. He flew helicopters in Korea during the Korean War and in Vietnam during the Vietnam War. He was serving in Washington with the Army Material Command when he retired from active duty in the early 1970s.

His military decorations included the Silver Star, the Legion of Merit, three awards of the Distinguished Flying Cross, two awards of the Bronze Star, 18 awards of the Air Medal, and the Army Commendation Medal.

Colonel Rike was a third-degree member of the Knights of Columbus, a past president of the Northern Virginia Youth Symphony and past treasurer of the Fairfax Ballet. He was a member of St. Michael's Catholic Church in Annandale. His hobbies included rose gardening and Republican politics.

Survivors include his wife of 47 years, Delores Dilger Rike, of An nandale; six sons, James Jr., of Burke, Joseph P., of Bryan, Tex., Thomas M., of Leesburg, John M., of Clifton, Robert A., of Fredericksburg, and Richard E., of Charlottesville; three daughters, Suzan Blazy of Fairfax Station, Sally Hart of Charlottesville and Mary Jane Schon of Philadelphia; a sister, Jo Ann Rike of Dallas; 18 grandchildren; and a great-grandson.


On October 3, 1998, beloved husband of Dolores C. Rike; devoted father of James Clifford Rike, Jr., Suzan Blazy, Sally Hart, Joseph Rike, Thomas Rike, Mary Jane Schon, John Rike, Robert Rike and Richard Rike. Also survived by 18 grandchildren; one great grandchild; and his sister, JoAnn Rike of Dallas, TX. FA service will be held on Thursday at 10:45 a.m. in the Fort Meyer Old Post Chapel. Interment to follow in Arlington National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Myositis Association of America, 600D University Blvd., Suite 104, Harrisonburg, VA 22801

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