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General Thomas A. Aldrich

General Thomas A. Aldrich Obituary
General Thomas A. Aldrich

San Angelo - Major General Thomas A. Aldrich died in Roseville, CA on September 13, 2019 at age 95.

He was born in Rosebud, Texas. Son of John and Opal Aldrich, he was raised in San Angelo, graduating with honors from San Angelo High School in 1941. He attended San Angelo State University and graduated from the Institute of Meteorology in Chicago where he met his wife, Ginny. He received a Bachelors Degree in Mathematics and Masters Degree in Business Administration from George Washington University. He also graduated from the Air Force Command and Staff College and the Air War College.

Aldrich entered military service in 1943 and rose to the rank of Major General in the U.S. Air Force before retiring in 1978. During his military career, he was an Air Force meteorologist and held the rating of Command Pilot with approximately 10,000 flying hours in 16 types of military aircraft. He organized and commanded the first USAF flying organization in Australia after WWII, which provided classified aerial reconnaissance valuable to U.S. National Defense.

Among his military decorations, General Aldrich was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Meritorious Service Medal and the Portuguese Cross. He is among the few Air Force Generals to have received the Order of the Sword from non-commissioned officers. His military assignments included two Air Force Wings (one at McClellan AFB and one in the Azores Islands) plus two numbered Air Forces (the USAF Air Weather Service headquartered at Scott AFB, Ill and the 22nd Air Force HQ at Travis AFB, CA). He and his wife, Ginny, were well known in Sacramento, Fairfield and Vacaville, CA for strong community relations with the military.

Following his military service, General Aldrich was a Vice President and Corporate Representative for governmental affairs for Anheuser-Busch Companies for 16 years, based in Sacramento. He was an active board member of the California Manufacturers Association for 15 years and Chairman of the Board of Directors in 1993. He served as a board member of the California State Chamber of Commerce and was campaign director for statewide businesses in California. Aldrich helped to establish the Northern California Retired Officers Community in Fairfield, CA and served as Vice-Chairman of the Board. General Aldrich also served for many years as a board member and finance chairman of the U.S. Air Force Academy Falcon Foundation in Colorado. Additionally, he was a board member of the Pacific Coast Building Products Retirement Fund.

One of his top priorities in life was his active leadership in Christian churches wherever he served, helping to establish new churches in Washington D.C. and Alaska. This culminated in his leadership at Fremont Presbyterian Church where he served as elder, finance chairman, presbytery representative, and building campaign chairman. He often said that his proudest accomplishment was his marriage of 65 years to Ginny Peterson of Alta, Iowa. He is survived by his 3 children, 3 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren.

A private family funeral service will be held. A memorial service will also be conducted at Fremont Presbyterian Church in Sacramento at a date and time to be determined.
Published in GoSanAngelo on Sept. 22, 2019
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