Major Thomas Edison Archer, USMC (Ret.)
1923 - 2013
Major Thomas Edison Archer, USMC (ret.), passed away in his Gulf Breeze home on Friday, October 18, 2013 at the age of 89. Tom was born Dec. 3, 1923 in Washington, D.C. to Thomas E. and Magibelle Horne Archer of Chester, SC. He grew up in Washington, graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School (1941), and enrolled at George Washington University to study Aeronautical Engineering. Four days after his 18th birthday in response to the Dec 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, Tom left GWU to enlist in the Naval Aviation Cadet Program. As a Naval Aviator (July 1943), USMC 2nd Lt Archer was deployed to Majuro Island in the Pacific theater where he flew the SV2C Helldiver in combat operations. Following his assignments as flight instructor (NAS Saufley Field, FL) and as a fighter pilot (MCAS El Toro, CA and MCB Quantico, VA), Tom deployed in 1952 to the Korean theatre of war where he flew 89 combat missions from the USS Badoeng Straight (CVE-116) in the F4U Corsair against Communist forces before being shot down and rescued at sea. After serving as a flight instructor and the cadet battalion commander at NAS Barin Field, AL, he transitioned to helicopters at Ellyson Field, FL (1956). At MCAS New River, NC, Tom served as Executive Officer of VMO-1; at Iwakuni, Japan, he was Provost Marshall (1961); and at Ellyson Field, he was HT-8 Chief Flight Instructor (1961-64). In that capacity, he provided helicopter transition training to many of the Apollo astronauts including Jim Lovell (Apollo XIII), Gordon Cooper, Pete Conrad, Frank Borman, Ed White, and Scott Carpenter. At the time of his retirement from the Marines in July 1964, Tom's decorations included the Purple Heart, six Air Medals, and the Distinguished Flying Cross.
Tom remained in Pensacola where he became a real estate agent, broker, and developer as president of "Thomas E. Archer Realtor, Inc.," a position he held through 2008. In 1973, he built and operated the Sheraton Inn on East Garden Street. Tom was married in 1949 to the former Mary Frances O'Sullivan after her sister, Mary Beth Donovan, and brother in law, John Donovan, a fellow Marine pilot, introduced them at El Toro. Following Fran's death, Tom married the former Jean Bowen of Pensacola in a private ceremony at their Gulf Breeze home where they lived until his death. Tom is survived by his wife, Jean Archer; sons Thomas E. Archer (Jackie), Daniel E. Archer (Dale Ann), Peter J. Archer (Paige); daughter Mary Jo Archer; stepdaughter Johnnia B. Lamb; six grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren. Tom was preceded in death by his stepdaughter Mary B. Hartshorn (1959-2012). In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Covenant Hospice or The
Funeral services will be held at 2:00 p.m., Saturday, November 02, 2013 at Bayview Fisher-Pou Chapel.
The family will receive friends from 1:00 p.m. until 2:00 p.m., Saturday.
Inurnment will be 1:15 p.m., Tuesday, November 05, 2013 at Barrancas National Cemetery with full military honors.
BAYVIEW FISHER-POU CHAPEL, 3351 Scenic Highway is entrusted with arrangements.
Condolences may be offered at www.bayviewfisher-pouchapel.com.