Thomas A. Deptula, Col. U.S. Air Force (Ret.), age 93, transferred permanent change of station, from earth on Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012. He was preceded in death by his devoted wife and friend of 67 years, Alma H., in October 2011.
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Born in Wilkes Barre, Pa., Tom moved to Niceville, Fla., from his last Air Force duty station in Colorado in 1973, and had resided in the Niceville/Bluewater Bay area since then.
Tom graduated from the College of New Jersey with a bachelor's degree in education; a master's degree from Rutgers University, N.J., and completed his doctorate in psychology from CC University, Calif.
As an educator, Tom taught at various levels of education. His last position was with Okaloosa-Walton Community College as an instructor of psychology, group therapist and career counselor in the Displaced Homemakers Program.
During his military career of 33 years, Tom was a command pilot with over 4,000 flying hours, including 140 combat missions. He served with distinction in WWII, Korea and Vietnam during which time he was awarded the Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross with three clusters, Air Medal with five clusters, the Bronze Star and the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry. Based on his experience in Vietnam, Tom wrote and had published a novel titled "Escape from Chi Minh."
Tom was a member of Kappa Delta Pi, AFA, TROA and ROA.
As a devoted Catholic, Tom served the good Lord as a director of the CCD program, Special Minister and Lector at the Holy Name of Jesus church in Niceville, Fla.
Tom is survived by four sons, Thomas A. (wife, Jane) of Oakland, Calif., William M. of Fort Walton Beach, Fla., Kenneth B. of Phoenix, Ariz., and Ronald R. (wife, Vicki) of Niceville, Fla.; and daughter, Linda Wade, of Cape Canaveral, Fla. He is also survived by eight grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
There will be no service, but your prayers would be appreciated. Tom's remains will be cremated and will be laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia with his wife, Alma. The family would like to thank Superior Residences, Emerald Coast Hospice and Twin Cities Funeral Services for their caring assistance.
Expressions of sympathy may be viewed or submitted online at www.twincitiescremationsfunerals.com.
Published Online in Northwest Florida Daily News on Oct. 7, 2012