TUSCALOOSA | Major Orval Christopher Belcher, age 94 passed away peacefully surrounded by family at Hospice of West Alabama.
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Military Graveside Services will be held 2 p.m. on Thursday, March 13, 2014 at Tuscaloosa Memorial Park with visitation from 1:30 to 2 p.m. at the graveside. Magnolia Chapel Funeral Home South is in charge of arrangements.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 63 years, Lou Jay Belcher and parents.
He is survived by son, John Belcher; granddaughters, Lauren James (Brian) and Amy Belcher; and special great-grandson.
Mr. Belcher was born October 27, 1919 in Jena, Alabama to the late William Belcher and Sally Mae Pate.
Major Belcher enlisted in June 1938 and served in the 21st infantry Hawaiian Department, Hawaii. He reenlisted in February 1941 with the 2nd Armored Division, Fort Benning, Georgia. He served as an Armored Reconnaissance Unit Commander in the European African Middle Eastern Theater and attended the British Commando School in England. Battles and Campaigns included The Algeria-France Morocco, Tunisia, Sicily, Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland Ardennes and Central Europe.
Major Belcher received a battlefield commission while serving in the European Theater of operations with the 41st AIR, 2nd Armored Division. He served with the 2nd Armored Division at Fort Hood, Texas until December 1950. On January 1, 1951, he was assigned to the 89th Tank Battalion 25th Division in Korea. He served as Company Commander of the B Company 89th Tank Battalion.
On his return to the U.S. in 1952, Major Belcher was assigned to San Juan, Texas as Advisor to the 112th Calvary, Texas National Guard. From this assignment he went to Europe in 1954 and his assignment was that of Commanding Officer of Company F, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Armored Calvary in Europe. From this he attended the Advanced Armor Course at the Armor School, Fort Knox, Kentucky. After school he was assigned to Fourth Army Headquarters, Fort Sam Houston, Texas as Operations Officer, G-3 Section General Staff. Major Belcher completed the Air Ground Operation School and the Department of the Army Military Justice School at Southern Pines, North Carolina.
Major Belcher wears the D.S.C. Silver Star with Oak Leaf Cluster; the Bronze Star Medal with Two Oak Leaf Clusters; the Purple Heart; Army Commendation Ribbon with Oak Leaf Cluster; Presidential Unit Citation: Belgium Croix de Guerre, 2nd Armored Division. He has seen action in 11 military campaigns and retired from the Army on August 31, 1959, after more than 21 years of military service. He was 39 years of age at his retirement, and then went on to spend an additional 20 years in Advertising.
He loved spending time with family and his two dogs Charlie and Lucy.
He inspired many with his courage, patient strength, and gentle humility.
A special thanks to his devoted cousin Sally Hunter for the continued support and care she provided, Janice Belcher who our sweet Granddaddy adored and loved so much, Dr. John Warren and the wonderful staff of Hospice of West Alabama.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations he made to Hospice of West Alabama.
Magnolia Chapel Funeral Home South
6100 Old Greensboro Road Tuscaloosa, AL 35405
Published in Tuscaloosa News on Mar. 12, 2014