Lt. Col. Allie Alford Thacker passed away on Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013 at the age of 92.

He was not only our family hero, but a true American hero. A member of "the greatest generation, he was born on Nov. 10, 1920 to Trudie Williams Thacker and George Lester Thacker of Pear Valley, Texas.

He graduated from Lohn High School where he excelled in basketball, football, and track. He enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1941. During World War II, he flew 35 missions out of Guam, and was the first to complete those 35 missions. He received the Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal, Victory medal as well as other medals throughout his career.

The Silver Star was given when the formation that he led was attacked by 40 enemy fighters. His aircraft sustained 73 holes caused by 30 mm and 20 mm caliber bullets. Two of the other aircraft had fire break out, and Al, seeing them defenseless, left the safety of his formation to draw the enemy fighters away from the other aircraft. This gave the crew members of the other aircraft a chance to bail out, and this action saved their lives.

Later, while in the service, he was stationed at Tyndall Air Force Base where he met and married Ruth Cesaroni of Apalachicola. Al retired from the military in 1967 and moved to the Rio Grande Valley where he worked as a pilot for Louisiana Strawberry Produce Company until he retired permanently. He moved to the Lake Jackson area to be closer to his children and grandchildren. Retirement allowed him the pleasure of pursuing his passion for golf where he obtained several holes in one while in his 80s. In 2010 he was grand marshal of the Veterans Day parade and an honoree as a Brazoria County Hometown Hero in 2011.

Al was preceded in death by his parents, George and Trudy Thacker, brothers, Elzo, Arvil, Durwood, Bowlie, Van Lester and daughter, Patricia.

He is survived by his wife, Ruth, of Lake Jackson, sons Allie Jr. (Martha) of Van Vleck, Texas, Gary (Chu), of San Antonio, Texas, Charles (Judy), David (Susie),both of Lake Jackson, Texas, and daughter Mary Miller (Joe) of Pearland, Texas. He is also survived by 15 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren.

A funeral Mass is to be held Saturday Oct. 12, at 9:30 a.m. at St. Michael's Catholic Church in Lake Jackson, Texas. Graveside services will be at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 16 at Magnolia Cemetery in Apalachicola.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the charity of your choice.