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Official Obituary of

Major George B. Wingard, USAF, RET.

October 12, 1948 ~ March 26, 2024 (age 75) 75 Years Old

Major George Wingard, USAF, RET. Obituary

George was the middle son of Professor Robert Wingard, Sr., and Estelle Wingard. He was a great-grandson of John Jenkins Wilmore, the first dean of engineering at Alabama Polytechnic Institute. Dean Wilmore served in that position from 1908 until his death in 1943. The building on campus, Wilmore Labs and the street Wilmore Drive were named in his honor.

George was a graduate of Auburn High School, Auburn University and did graduate work on a MBA at Central Michigan University. He was a graduate of the following service schools: Air Force Squadron Officer School, Air Force Air Command and Staff College and the Army National Defense University, National Security Management Course. George’s high school senior class of 1966 was the last class to graduate from the old high school on Samford Avenue. When George started school in Auburn in 1955, that school housed all 12 grades in two buildings. That truly was back when Auburn was small and was the “Loveliest village of the plain.” The first branch of his family, The Whitakers, arrived in Auburn in 1879 and someone has been here ever since, either associated with the college or a business.

After graduation from Auburn University, he was accepted for the Air Force Officer Training School with a follow-on assignment to attend undergraduate navigator training. Between those two assignments he married his beloved wife, Jackie London, on 17 April 1971 and they were married for 46 years, four months and 28 days until her death on September 15, 2017. After earning his wings, George was assigned to an element of the Strategic Air Command (SAC) as a line navigator in the KC-135A air refueling aircraft. SAC was part of the Nuclear Triad during the Cold War, providing the airborne and missile component while the Navy provided the submarine launched MIRV missiles. Upon retirement, George had accumulated over 3200 flying hours of which 132 were combat hours which included 29 combat sorties during the Vietnam War. Some of his awards and decorations are: Meritorious Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster; Air Medal; Air Force Commendation Medal; Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with “V” Valor device and two oak leaf clusters; Vietnam Service Medal and others. After Air Force retirement, he and Jackie moved to Opelika and George worked for a number of years as the Business Office Manager for Opelika Welding, Machine and Supply, Inc. and then it was re-named and became Opelika Metalfab, Inc.

George was a member of the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), Disabled American Veterans (DAV), Auburn University Alumni Association, American Diabetes Association (ADA), National Rifle Association (NRA), Auburn University Samford Club, The James E. Foy Loyalty Society, Tigers Unlimited and the North Opelika Historic Neighborhood Association (NOHNA). In NOHNA, he served as a board member or officer for many years. NOHNA brought the city of Opelika the Victorian Front Porch Christmas Tour and NOHNA ran it from December 1993 until December 2006. At that time, the creator of the life size Santas moved and the city bought the Santa figures and the city has continued the tour ever since.

George is survived by one brother and a sister-in-law. There will be no visitation. There will be a graveside burial of his ashes at the family plot in Pine Hill Cemetery on Armstrong Street in Auburn on 13 April at 10:30 AM. His lifelong friend, Commander Robert L. Hare, will speak and read a prepared statement. Half of his ashes will be buried there and the rest will be distributed into the wind and water of his beloved Lake Martin along with ashes of his beloved Jackie. Honorary ash bearers will be Sam Chesnutt, Bobby Chesnutt, Jack Marshall, Rick Burns, Mike Evans, and Bobby Hare.

The family wishes to thank Synergy Home Care for their dedication to George for these last several months.

Friends are invited for a gathering at 3809 Heritage Place Opelika, Alabama 36804 immediately after the graveside service.

George is at peace now and finally reunited with his beloved Jackie, whom he has missed dearly. Vaya Con Dios, George.

A final word for all that have served are now serving and that will serve in the Armed Forces of the United States of America. In December 1776 Thomas Paine wrote a paper entitle “The Crisis” to help inspire more men and women to come forward to help defeat the British. He wrote: “These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.”

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Services

Graveside Service
Saturday
April 13, 2024

10:30 AM
Pine Hill Cemetery
Armstrong Street
Auburn, AL 36830

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