Carroll Noell Rather, 77, passed away unexpectedly on Thursday, December 13, 2012 in a plane accident. Noell was born on October 13, 1935 in Dallas, Texas and was preceded in death by his parents, Fannie and Carroll Rather. Noell graduated from Highland Park High School in 1953 and from Southern Methodist University in 1957 where he earned a degree in geology. He then entered the United States Air Force (USAF), serving 10 years and rising to the rank of Captain. He flew the F-105 Thunder Chief in more than 60 combat missions in South East Asia, including one of the first missions over North Viet Nam. Noell returned from South East Asia to instruct F-105 pilots at Nellis Air Force Base near Las Vegas, Nevada.
Honorably discharged from the USAF, Noell served as a commercial pilot for Braniff Airlines for three years before realizing that commercial aviation was anticlimactic to his "hair on fire" Air Force days and just not for him. He then realized his goal of being his own boss and built an energy company that he was actively involved with for more than 40 years.
Noell's true passion in life was flying, which he learned at age 16 and continued for 61 years, logging thousands of hours as a pilot. Sharing this passion with friends and family brought him great joy, as did donating much of his time and resources to charity and the betterment of others. Let's be honest, he liked the attention! Many friends even called him by his call sign "Cobra".
Noell was an avid golfer, gin rummy player, a charter member of Bent Tree Country Club, and an active member of the Dallas Petroleum Club. He was greatly involved in the Red River Valley Fighter Pilots Association as well as other organizations, including most notably the Order of the Daedalians and the Quiet Bird Men (QB's).
Noell is survived by his loving wife of 53 years, Jane Eiser Rather. He is also survived by sons Ralph Rather, Michael Rather, and David Rather; daughter, Gayle Hamilton; daughters-in-law Teresa Rather and Kelley Rather and six grandchildren: Leah Rather Petrunin, Brett Rather, Anna Rather, John Michael Rather, Taylor Rather, and Lindsay Rather.
Services will be held at The Church of the Incarnation at 10:00AM on Tuesday, December 18, 2012. The church is located at 3966 McKinney Avenue, Dallas, TX 75204. In lieu of flowers please send contributions to any of the following organizations: Red River Valley Pilots Association scholarship fund, the Frontiers of Flight Museum, or the Wounded Warrior Project.