BLEDSOE, Anthony Wayne, US Air Force Lt. Colonel, (Ret.) Anthony Wayne Bledsoe, born January 7, 1929 has soared to Heaven. His was a life well-lived! Born in New Brunswick, Canada, Anthony grew up in Van Nuyes, California where he graduated from Van Nuyes High School in 1947. While attending college he cleaned the swimming pools of Hollywood starlets, but his real dream was fulfilled when he joined the U.S. Air Force to become a pilot in 1955. Anthony graduated at the top of his class, and was assigned the F-84 Sabre, and then the F-100 Super Sabre. While stationed at Luke Air Force Base, he met and married Christa (Leimert) in 1957. Together the two raised three children while stationed in France, Germany, Japan, South Carolina and New Mexico. During his career, Anthony flew more than 350 missions, including 100 missions in the cockpit of the RF-101 Voodoo during the Vietnam War. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for heroism and extraordinary achievement as related to his bravery to help save the life of his wing man who had been shot down. His greatest reward though was seeing the same man emerge alive from POW camps later on. Upon retiring with honors from the Air Force, Anthony joined the Air National Guard in Spokane, and flew the KC-135. He officially retired from flying in 1979. Anthony had many talents and achieved more than most in a lifetime. Throughout his life, he was an avid skier, hiker, and photographer. His children are forever gifted with his chronicling of his life's experiences through his photos. His handcrafted home forever stands as a testimony to his abilities as a self-taught architect, visionary and carpenter. Additionally, Anthony volunteered his skiing skills and compassion for helping others through service with the Mt. Spokane Ski Patrol and Silver Mountain Ski patrol for more than 20 years . After battling with Lewy Body Dementia, Anthony passed away on June 21, 2014. He will be forever missed, and loved by all who had the good fortune to have known him. Anthony is survived by his loving wife of 57 years, Christa; son Wayne (Rosita), son Gordon (Shawn Humphrey), their children, Blake and Hanna, daughter Heidi (John Gallup IV), and their children, Jay and Lauren. Additionally, he is survived by his brothers, Douglas (Diane) Bledsoe and Robert (Kathy) Bledsoe and extended family members. Anthony joins his parents Wayne L. and Hildred Bledsoe in Heaven. The family wishes to extend its grateful thanks to the caring staff at Valley General Hospital, and the dedicated firefighters of the Spokane Valley Fire Department. Your care and concern is beyond measure. A memorial service with Military Honors will be held at the Washington Veteran's National Cemetery in Medical Lake, Washington on Thursday, July 31st at 1:30 PM. A Celebration of Life will be held at Mirabeau Center Place, in the Spokane Valley immediately following. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the Veteran's Association, Spokane Valley Fire Department, or the Lewy Body Dementia Foundation. An excerpt from High Flight: Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings... And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod The high untrespassed sanctity of space, Put out my hand, and touched the face of God. - John Gillespie Magee, Jr
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Published in Spokesman-Review on July 27, 2014