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Gainesville, GA 30501
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James T. “Tom” Vance

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Lt. Col. James T. "Tom" Vance (retired) received his permanent change of station orders on July 8, 2013, after a long and courageous battle with cancer, surrounded by his family at Lanier Village Estates in Gainesville, Ga. Vance was born in Garner, Texas, on Nov. 19, 1925. He was preceded in death by his parents, Roland Steel and Cora Martha (Burgin) Vance, and is survived by his loving wife of 63 years, Virgalene Mitchell Vance. He is also survived by his daughter, Lynn Vance Jarvis, her husband, Kevin of Dawsonville, Ga.; granddaughter, Michele Jarvis Crow, her husband, Trey of Marietta, Ga.; granddaughter, Ashley Jarvis Dawson, her husband, Tim of Cumming, Ga.; and their two children, great-granddaughters, Ryley Michele and McKinley Reese Dawson.

Tom began his career of military service in 1943, by joining the U.S. Navy, serving in the Navy Amphibious Force in the Pacific Theater during World War II. After his tour of duty in the Navy, he joined the U.S. Marines' First Division. In 1950, Tom received a commission from the U.S. Army, after completing the ROTC program at New Mexico State University. After serving a tour of duty in the Korean War, Tom became Special Forces qualified, and later served in Vietnam. Some of the honors and awards that Tom received during his military career with the U.S. Navy, the Marine Corps and the Army were: Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star with five clusters, Purple Heart (three), Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal with three clusters, Army Commendation Medal with two clusters, Asiatic Pacific Medal with two stars, World War II Victory Medal, National Defense Service Medal with one star, RVN Gallantry Cross, RVN Gallantry Cross, RVN Honor Medal, the Presidential Unit Citation, the Meritorious Unit Citation, the Vietnam Presidential Unit Citation, the Combat Infantry Badge, and the Master Parachute Wings. He retired from the U.S. military in 1970.

Throughout his military career and beyond, Tom was also dedicated to education, receiving a Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of Southern Mississippi and a Master of Arts degree in Higher Education from the University of North Carolina. Pursuing that passion helped him choose his second career as a high school teacher. Tom taught in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School System for the next 20 years of his life.

In 2003, Tom and Virgie moved into Tryon Estates in Columbus, N.C., and in 2012, they moved to the Lanier Village Estates in Gainesville, Ga., to be closer to family. Tom will be remembered for his lifelong pursuit of learning, and his commitment to serve his country, his community and his family. His final resting place for his body will be the Georgia National Cemetery in Canton, Ga. The service will be held at 1 p.m. Friday, July 12, 2013, at the cemetery with full military honors.

In lieu of flowers the family has requested donations be made to or group in his honor.

Memorial Park North Riverside Chapel, 989 Riverside Drive, Gainesville, GA 30501. 770-297-6200. For online condolences, www.memorialparkfuneralhomes.com.
Published in gainesvilletimes.com on July 10, 2013
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