Colonel John Elliott Echols, Jr., USAFR, Ret., passed away on November 13, 2013. A visitation will be held at Collier-Butler Funeral Home, Gadsden, Alabama, from 12:00 to 2:00 p.m. on Friday, December 6, 2013, with a memorial service immediately following. Chaplain (Colonel) Bobby Gardner, USAF, Ret., will preside.
Colonel Echols was born August 17, 1925, in Smackover, Arkansas, and graduated from El Monte High School, El Monte, California. Col Echols was a member of First Presbyterian Church, Gadsden, a deacon and long-time elder. A manager for GMAC, his sole employer after graduation from the University of Alabama, Col Echols also flew in the Army Air Corps with the Eighth Air Force during World War II, was later commissioned and served with the Fifth Air Force in the Korean War, and served at the Pentagon during the Vietnam War. He continued to serve in the Air Force Reserves and retired at his present rank in 1979. During his service to his country he was awarded, among other decorations, the Bronze Star Medal, World War II Victory Medal, Korean Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, and the Defense Meritorious Service Medal. An avid antique car collector and member of the Gadsden Antique Auto Club, he restored as many as 52 cars during his lifetime. He also served as a member of the Gadsden Kiwanis Club.
He was preceded in death by his parents, John E. Echols and Carita Echols, and his wife, Sarah Perry Echols.
He is survived by his Daughter Kathy Thompson (Jim), The Woodlands, TX, Son Bryan Echols (Laura), Brentwood, TN, Sister Pat Brown, recently of Decatur, AL, Brother Don Echols (Norma), Birmingham, AL, five grandchildren, Eric Thompson (Holly), Houston, TX, Katy McWhorter (Tim), Columbus, GA, Tyler Echols (Amber), Kuwait City, Kuwait, Captain Bradley Echols (Lea), Fairfield, CA, and Ellyn Echols, Arlington, VA, and two great grandchildren, Makenzie Thompson and Ella McWhorter.
The family requests no flowers. Memorials may be sent to Big Oak Ranch, P.O. Box 507 Springville, AL 35146, and to Honor Flight, Inc., Attn: Diane Gresse, 300 E. Auburn Ave., Springfield, OH 45505.
Online condolences may be made at www.collier-butler.com.