Funeral service will be at 3 p.m. Wednesday at Crestwood Chapel for CW5 Ret. Colvin J. "Buddy" Abel, 78, who died Sunday, July 24, 2011. The Rev. Harvey Beck will officiate. Burial will be in Crestwood Cemetery. Crestwood Memorial Funeral Home will direct services.
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He was a graduate of Hokes Bluff High School, had two years college and Military Education that included Adjutant General Advance Course, Personnel Officers Course, Armor Officers Basic and Advance Courses, Master Warrants Officers Course, Civil Service courses, Middle and Advance Management Courses, in addition to many others.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 52-plus years, Mary Eva Lee Abel; and parents, Alfred C. "Al" and Pauline Abel.
He is survived by his wife, Bonnie Goss Abel; two sons, Larry C. Abel and his wife, Kathy (Wagnon) Abel, Winchester, Tenn., and Richard C. Abel and his wife, Lisa (Sexton) Abel; and four grandchildren.
Buddy enlisted in Alabama National Guard in January of 1951, mobilized with 167th Infantry 31st Division in January 1951 and was discharged back to the Alabama National Guard in October 1952. He continued in the National Guard as a technician until January 1981, when he went back on active duty with the National Guard Bureau in Washington, D.C. During the period of September 1984 to October of 1992, he served on active duty with the National Guard Bureau, Hqs 5th Army in San Antonio, Texas, or in the Delaware National Guard. Buddy enlisted in the military as a private and retired as a Chief Warrant Officer W5 (CW5). He was one of the first six warrant officers to be promoted to the new grade of CW5 in the entire Army system in April of 1992, and the very first from the state of Alabama. Some on the assignments included managing 90-plus active duty warrant officers and designing an Automates Retirement Points Accounting System that is still being used in all 50 states and three territories and chief of several sections within the Personnel Division at the National Guard Bureau.
During Desert Storm, Buddy was a member of the first-ever Reserve Component Liaison Office in Southwest Asia, which consisted of equal numbers of active duty National Guard and active duty Army Reserve members that coordinated with the National Guard Bureau and Forces Command to solve problems of mobilized Guard and Reserve units. Buddy was the telephonic point of contact with members of the National Guard Bureau in Washington, D.C., on a daily basis.
Upon retirement on Oct. 9, 1992, Buddy had 41 years and nine months total military service. Included in his military awards were: Legion of Merit; Bronze Star Medal; Southwest Asia Service Medal (for service during Desert Storm); Meritorious Unit Commendation and Army Superior Unit Award and some 12 other awards.
As for his civilian employment, he was employed with the Federal Civil Service from 1952 until 1987 as a technician with the Alabama National Guard and the National Guards Bureau in Washington, D.C. Upon retirement from Federal Civil Service in 1987, Buddy was in middle management. His most cherished civilian award is the "Eagle Award," which is the highest service award given by the National Guard Bureau. In 2010, Buddy was honored by his induction into the Patriots Hall of Honor. If the dates seem confusing, Buddy not only served in the military, but was also a Civil Service employee with the National Guard during the same time frame.
He was also involved in several civic, social and fraternal activities. He was a member of Hokes Bluff First United Methodist Church; Masonic Lodge No. 470 (where he was presented his 50-year service pin and is a Past Master); Zamora Shrine Temple, Birmingham; retired life membership in the National Guard Association of the United States and National Guard Association of Alabama; and a member of the Gadsden Whirl-a-ways square dance club and was a past president of the club.
Buddy wore many hats during his lifetime, including that of a husband, father, grandfather, Boy Scout, Cub Master, member of Military Affairs Committee of the Etowah County Chamber of Commerce, member of the Corporate Board of Directors of the Etowah County Boys Club, member of the administrative board of Hokes Bluff First United Methodist Church, Sunday School teacher and member of Hokes Bluff Water and Gas Board. He had worn a Shriner Fez and the helmet of a soldier.
The family will receive friends at the funeral home Wednesday from 1 p.m. until the hour of service.
Crestwood Memorial Funeral Home - Gadsden
2209 East Broad Street
Gadsden, AL 35903
Published in The Gadsden Times on July 26, 2011