RALEIGH - Tsgt. Alexander "Al" Cheek (Ret.), 77, of 5211 Trinity Village Lane, Raleigh, 27607, died Jan. 28, 2013 at his home with family by his side.
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He was born Oct. 6, 1935 in rural Alamance County, NC, the son of the late Bertha Boggs and Jesse James Cheek. He was also preceded in death by older brother Grover James Cheek; J. Claude Jones, Lewis Jones and Mary Jones Ray all step-siblings.
His service in the U. S. Air Force spanned two decades. Survival training was completed in Greenland, followed by the initial placement at Loring AFB, Maine. He was trained extensively by the Boeing Co. and the USAF in engine mechanics for the B-47/52, C130/133 and KC-135 refueling plane.
He saw direct service in Vietnam in the late '60's recovering downed aircraft. In addition, he was a crew chief for C-130's both in Vietnam and Thailand. His foreign service included: Antartica, the Azores, England, Guam, Japan, Philippines, and Spain. His U. S. service included numerous continential states and Alaska and Hawaii. In 1968, he earned the Master Crew Chief Award (Top Base Crew Chief) while at Davis-Monthian AFB in Arizona. He also earned National Defense, Vietnam Service and Good Conduct medals and numerous personal accolades.
Upon retiring from the Air Force, his family relocated back to Burlington, NC. He worked intermittedly with the City of Burlington. His service included Cemetery and Grounds and after retirement, as a school crossing guard at Turrentine Middle School.
"Al" never met a stranger. His devotion and loyalty to his hometown were prevalent all over the area. Many people have been blessed and influenced by their life interaction with him.
He is survived by his son, Alexander Cheek Jr., of the home; a stepsister, Janie Wells of Liberty, NC; cousins, and many, many friends.
A Celebration of Life will be held at 2 p.m. March 17 at the Burlington Shrine Club.
Arrangements have been handled in Raleigh by Stricklands Funeral Home.
Published in TheTimesNews.com from Mar. 1 to Mar. 2, 2013