Col. Clarence Leroy (C.L) Coward, Jr. born October 3, 1922, passed away peacefully at his home in Tucson, AZ, on January 19, 2014. Born in his family's namesake, Coward, South Carolina, C.L. served his country for 40 years in the armed forces, starting as a Marine during the time of WWII. After the war he helped establish the first Air National Guard unit in Columbia, South Carolina, where he served as an aircraft mechanic before moving his family to Arizona in 1948 for his daughter's health. He also helped establish Arizona's original Air National Guard unit in Litchfield Park before the unit moved to its permanent base at Sky Harbor Airport. In 1956, he helped establish a new ANG unit in Tucson where he served as a non-commissioned officer before earning an opportunity to attend officer's training school. Upon graduation, he was commissioned from Mstr. Sergeant to Captain in 1958. He served in important leadership roles with the ANG, including commanding the 162nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, before being called into the Air Force to liaison between the Air Force and ANG units across the country. He is the recipient of multiple awards and medals, including receiving the Air Force Commendation Medal for Meritorious Service in 1965. In 1977, by order of the President, he was awarded the Air Force Meritorious Service Medal for his work at McClellan AFB. He earned the ranks of Major in 1962, Lt. Colonel in 1967, and Colonel in 1973. He retired with the rank of Colonel with full honors in 1982. C.L. is survived by Sybil, his lifelong love and wife of 71 years. C.L. and Sybil met when they were young children and have been inseparable ever since. He is also survived by his daughter, Clarice Schroeder; son-in-law, Norman Schroeder; his son, Michael Coward; his brother, Robert Coward; two grandsons and six and a half great-grandchildren. There will be a viewing on Saturday, January 25, 2014 from 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. at the EAST LAWN PALMS MORTUARY, followed by a private, family graveside service. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Pima Air and Space Museum. The family wishes to thank Soulistic Hospice for their fine care.
Published in the Arizona Daily Star on Jan. 22, 2014