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Russell Gilley Estes

Death Notice
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Russell Gilley Estes passed away on September 29, 2012, in Dallas, Texas, at the age of 90. He is survived by his wife, Margaret Ann Wardlaw Estes of Dallas, Texas; and daughter, Gilley Ann Estes of Plano, Texas. Russell was preceded in death by his father, mother, sister, and brother. He also survived by niece, Jeannie Burcham, her husband Tommy, and their son, Mark; and several great nieces and nephews. Born in 1921, in El Paso, Texas, Russell moved quite a bit, as a young child. In 1942, he registered for the draft, after the attack on Pearl Harbor. He was stationed in San Antonio, Texas, after being called to active duty with the Army Air Corps, where he completed ground school. Russell was taught how to fly Martin B-26 planes in Del Rio, Texas. In May 1944, he was sent to combat operations with the 320th Bomb Group. First stationed on Sardinia Island in the Mediterranean Sea, and then transferred to Corsica Island off the coast of France. In late 1944, that base was moved to an area near Dijon, France. After a being reassigned temporarily to Isters, France, in January 1945, he returned to Dijon, France to fly Blind Attack Technique (BAT) missions, designed to test a new short range radar system. In March 1945, he was moved to another base in Dole, France. Shortly after this last move, and after flying 64 missions, Russell was allowed to come home. During his service in the US Army Air Corp, Russell received several awards. Among those is the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Croix de Guerre (also known as the French Cross), the Air Medal, the Medal for the Italian Campaign, and the Medal for Voluntary Service in Free France. After returning to civilian life, Russell worked several different jobs in the petroleum industry, before enrolling in college using his GI Bill benefits. He received a degree in Petroleum Engineering in 1945 from the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology (now known as New Mexico Tech). He worked in several cities before being transferred to Midland, Texas, as Division Engineer with Honolulu Oil in 1959. He met and married Margaret Ann Wardlaw Webb in 1960. After Honolulu Oil sold to what is now Amoco Oil, Russell became an independent consultant. Their daughter joined the family in 1963, and he continued working as a consultant to many of the small independents and a few large independent oil companies for the next 30 years. After losing the sight in one of his eyes, he decided it was time to retire. In 2008, Russell and Ann moved to Dallas, Texas, to be closer to their daughter. A graveside service will be held on Monday, October 8, 2012, at 2:00 p.m., at Resthaven Memorial Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family asks memorials be made to the 320th Bomb Group/Wing Association, at 4742 Cloud Lane, Birmingham, AL 35243-2618 or the Visiting Nurse Association, at 1600 Viceroy Drive, Suite 400, Dallas, TX 75235.

Published in Midland Reporter-Telegram on Oct. 7, 2012
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