Alvin (Al) Twitchell, 87, of McPherson, passed away at 6:20 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 13, peacefully, at Cedars House.
Al was born on Dec. 26, 1925, in Escalante, Utah, a son of Nelda (Haycock) and Lovell Monroe Twitchell.
Alvin attended the Escalante, Utah, schools and graduated from Escalante High School. He also attended navigation, pilot, and communication schools. He later attended Russian language school at Syracuse University. He received his BS degree (with distinction) in electrical engineering and his MS degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University, Palo Alto, Calif.
Al served in three wars, World War II, Korea, and Vietnam in the U.S. Air Force.
Al joined the Army Air Corps in February 1944 and upon graduating from Navigation School in 1945 was commissioned a 2nd Lt. He was then accepted for pilot training and was one of the youngest members of the first graduating class of U.S.A.F. pilots in 1947 (47C) also known as the Guinea Pigs at Barksdale AFB, La. He later attended communications school and, upon graduation, served in Okinawa, Japan, and Alaska as a communications officer until 1951 when he was sent to Syracuse University in New York to attend a one-year, total immersion course in the Russian language. Following completion of this course, he was assigned to the USAF Security Service Headquarters at Brooks AFB, San Antonio, Texas, and began an 11-year association with this command as a communications-intelligence officer. He was selected for the Air War College in 1966 and completed this school as a distinguished graduate of the class of 1967. Al was then assigned to Taiwan and Vietnam from 1967 to 1968 as a C- 130 pilot. Upon his return from Southeast Asia, he was stationed at Rome Air Development Center, Rome, N.Y. as Chief of the Communications Division. He received his promotion to colonel in 1971 while stationed in Rome. In 1972, he was assigned to the Defense Communications Agency, Arlington, Va., until his retirement in 1974. His military decorations include two Legions of Merit and several Air Medals. He then went to work for UNISYS in McLean, Va., as a systems engineer and manager. In 1987 Al took a position with Braddock-Dunn-McDonald in the same capacity, retiring for a second time in February 1989.
Alvin Twitchell was united in marriage to Marie Estelle O'Donnell on May 2, 1953, at the Catholic Chapel in Ft. Sam Houston, Texas.
Al is survived by his loving and devoted wife of more than 59 years, Maire Twitchell, of McPherson; his children, Patricia T. Goad and her husband Gary, of McPherson, and Douglas J. Twitchell and his wife Hilary Jones, of Portland, Ore.; his siblings, Arletta Clutter, of Seminole, Texas, Deanne Gillies, of Panguitch, Utah, Joyce Tooman, of Bolivar, Mo., and Craig Twitchell and his wife Marilyn, of Panguitch, Utah; his three grandchildren, Brian Goad and his wife Kara, of Garden City, Courtney Wilkey and her husband Tanner, of Sterling, and Zachary Twitchell, of Corvallis, Ore.; his great-granddaughter — Brynley Goad; several nieces and nephews, other relatives and a host of friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents and a sister, Nelda Munson.
Memorial service will be at 10 a.m. on Saturday Jan. 19, 2013, at Glidden- Ediger Chapel, McPherson.
The final resting place will be at the McPherson Cemetery McPherson, with military honors presented by members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2715 and American Legion Post 24 both of McPherson.
Memorials are suggested to the Alzheimer's Association, and they can be sent in care of the Glidden-Ediger Funeral Home; 222 W. Euclid St.; McPherson, KS 67460.