Col. John E. Pirkle Sr.

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Col. John E. Pirkle Sr. (Ret.), 73, husband of 51 years to Faye Pirkle, entered into rest Friday, Sept. 30, 2011.
A native of Cumming, John graduated from Forsyth County High School. He attended North Georgia College from 1956-1958 and graduated from the University of Georgia in 1960 with a degree in business.
He entered into active duty with the Army in February of 1961 and served until retirement in August of 1988. John was a graduate of the Signal Officers Basic and Advanced courses at Fort Monmouth, N.J., Command and General College at Ft. Leavenworth, Kan., Rotary Wing Aviator Course and Fixed Wing Transition Course at Ft. Rucker, Ala., Joint Command, Communication, and Intelligence Course at Norfolk, Va. John was the recipient of many awards including The Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, two Awards of the Meritorious Service Medal, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, and two Awards of the Bronze Star. He was a Senior Army Aviator with more than 3,000 flight hours in both helicopter and fixed wing aircraft.
John served in a variety of assignments in the U.S., Germany, and Vietnam. He was a helicopter flight instructor at Fort Rucker, Ala., where he taught U.S. and allied officers to fly. He served two combat tours in Vietnam where he commanded an assault support Helicopter Company (CH-47 Chinook). While stationed at Fort Gordon, he commanded the largest tactical Signal Battalion in the Army, a unit comprised of 1120 personnel, 220 vehicles, and communication assemblages. John served on the Army staff in the Pentagon, the Defense Communication Agency in Arlington, Va., and as TRADOC system manager for Combat Net Radio at Fort Gordon. In these jobs, he was responsible for funding, development, and fielding of critical communications systems to support the Army and the National Defense System.
After retiring from the Army, John started Masters City Classis Car Parts, which specializes in restoration parts for the 1953-1982 Corvettes and Chevrolets. He was a member of the National Corvette Restorations Society since 1987. John was a Level 400 Master Judge, NCRS, and a Bloomington Judge and Instructor. He was a life member of the National Corvette Museum and was the NCRS representative to the Museum Board of Directors for more than 10 years. John was recognized as the NCRS Member of the Year in 2001.
He was a member of Warren Baptist Church where he served as a deacon and went on several mission trips. He was a Gideon and a member of the Martinez-Evans Rotary Club where he served as secretary for 12 years. John was a Paul Harris Fellow and was Rotarian of the Year in 2001 and also received the Lee Arrendale Award for Vocational Excellence.
In addition to his wife, John is survived by his son, John E. Pirkle Jr. and wife Debbie of Martinez; daughter, Myra Smeak and husband Russell of Evans; one brother, George E. Pirkle and wife Karen of Cumming; niece, Charity McDaniel and husband Blake; four grandchildren, Patricia Jean "PJ" Pirkle, Logan Pirkle, Rebecca Smeak, Mitchell Smeak; and several extended family members also survive.
A funeral service will be held Tuesday, Oct. 4, at 11 a.m. at Warren Baptist Church with the Rev. Lane Lowery and the Rev. David McKinley officiating. Burial with military honors will be held Wednesday, Oct. 5, at 1 p.m. at the Georgia National Cemetery in Canton. Pallbearers will be members of the United States Army. Honorary pallbearers will be fellow Rotarians and deacons of Warren Baptist Church.
If so desired, memorials may be made to Warren Baptist Church 2020 Vision or Warren Baptist Church Missions, 3203 Washington Road, Augusta, GA 30907.
Please sign the guestbook and send condolences at www.plattsfuneralhome.com.
Platt's Funeral Home in Evans is in charge of arrangements.
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Platt's Funeral Home
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Evans, GA 30809
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Published in ForsythNews.com from Oct. 3 to Oct. 6, 2011