COLONEL DEAN A. ELMER USAF (RETIRED)Colonel Dean A. Elmer, USAF (Retired), 79, slipped the surly bonds of this earth for the last time on Sept. 17, 2012 at his home in Duluth
Colonel Dean A. Elmer, USAF (Retired), 79, slipped the surly bonds of this earth for the last time on Sept. 17, 2012 at his home in Duluth.
Colonel Elmer was born Aug. 12, 1933 to Clarence and Ella (Loe) Elmer in Cottonwood, Minn., and moved to Evansville, Minn, as a small child.
He graduated from Evansville High School in 1951 and attended Gustavus Adolphus College for two years. Colonel Elmer entered the U.S. Air Force with Aviation Cadet Class 55P, going on to fly the F-86 Sabre Jet, F-100 Super Sabre and F-105 Thunderchief fighter aircraft. He married his childhood sweetheart, Elaine Nelson, in 1955 and they were blessed with two children, Susan and Wayne. A career Air Force family, they lived all over the world with assignments in Japan, Germany and Turkey. In 1962 he flew “Operation Heavyweight,” the F-105 flight demonstration for President John F. Kennedy and set the record for heaviest takeoff weight for a single engine fighter that still stands today. He sat ready alert in Florida during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Colonel Elmer was shot down over North Vietnam in 1966 on his 68th combat mission. Hit by anti-aircraft gunfire, he used an untried aeronautic technique that kept his critically damaged F-105 airborne for another 10 minutes. Following his recovery, the aircraft manufacturer and U.S. Air Force published that technique as standard procedure for other F-105 pilots. He retired in 1976 as Deputy Wing Commander of the 363rd Combat Support Group, Tactical Air Command at Shaw Air Force Base. His military awards include the Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal (11 awards), Air Force Commendation Medal, and the Purple Heart.
Returning to Evansville, Minn., after his retirement from the Air Force, he devoted his energy and passion to wildlife conservation, native prairie conservation, the Boy Scouts of America (troop leader), his family and church. Dean was a founding member of the Pioneer Heritage Conservation Trust and a board member of the Evansville Historical Society. Dean also served on the Evansville City Council and was president of the congregation for Faith Lutheran Church. He was recognized by the state of Minnesota and conservation groups for his conservation work. Dean and Elaine voluntarily placed over 500 acres of their private land in a permanent conservation easement to protect some of the last unplowed native prairie in the state of Minnesota.
Dean was predeceased by his parents and brothers, Wayne and Ray Elmer.
He is survived by his loving and devoted wife of 57 years, Elaine; daughter Susan (Jay) Anderson of Rochester, Minn.; son Wayne (Kimberly) Elmer of Duluth; grandchildren Lora, Tor, and Hana Anderson and Kristin and Kathryn Elmer; brother Donny Elmer, Evansville, Minn.; sister Betty Olson of West Fargo, N.D.; and numerous nieces, nephews and extended family.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers, memorials be made to the Sunday School Program of Faith Lutheran Church, Evansville, Minn., where he had served as a Sunday School teacher.
SERVICE: 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012 in Faith Lutheran Church in Evansville. Visitation 4–7 p.m. Friday in Glende-Nilson Funeral Home in Evansville, and one hour prior to services in the church. Interment at Mound Grove Cemetery, Evansville. Military Honors: West Douglas County American Legion Post 188 - Evansville, Minn. Clergy: Rev. Carol Olson
Glende-Nilson Funeral Home-Evansville 218-948-2239
Online Condolences: GlendeNilson.com
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