Roy Everett Aldridge

Roy Everett Aldridge

Roy Everett Aldridge passed away in El Paso, Texas on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020 after a long and valiant struggle with COPD. He was born on Sept. 10, 1934 in Ardmore, the only child of Everett Eugene and Margaret (Ritter) Aldridge. During his formative years his family shuffled between Oklahoma and California. As an infant he lived in Salinas, Calif., where his father worked. His parents separated and he returned with his mother to Ardmore. Along with his mother, both sets of grandparents helped raise him. During World War II, his Grandfather Aldridge worked at the Kaiser Shipyard in Long Beach, Calif., welding Liberty Ships, so Roy accompanied them and returned to Ardmore at the end of the war. When he was in 8th grade he moved to Oklahoma City to live with his mother and her new husband. He graduated in 1952 from Central High School. Following graduation, he moved to California to live with his father and worked briefly in the aircraft industry. On Dec. 12, 1952, he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and began his long, honorable and storied military service. After his tour of duty in Korea, the Atomic Energy Commission had just relinquished control of the nation’s nuclear weapon stockpile to the armed forces and he was selected to be trained in the assembly of, maintenance, and testing of nuclear weapons which he did for the remainder of his service. In 1953 he married his first wife Mildred Stow and his only child Michael DeWayne Aldridge was born on Feb. 26, 1956 at Altus AFB. Among Roy’s accomplishments, he was on the crew that put the first Minuteman on alert during the Cuban Missile crisis. He participated in numerous below ground and atmospheric nuclear tests both in Nevada and in the Pacific. His crew was responsible for the Gemini IV crew capsule until the crew entered the capsule at time of their launching. His final military assignment was as NCOIC of the Armed Forces Nuclear Weapons School at Lowry AFB, Colo. While he was stationed there, he met Col Tom Verdon MD who arranged for him to attend the Armed Forces School for Nuclear Medicine at Bethesda Naval Hospital, Md. He retired from the Air Force as a MSGT on Jan. 30, 1973 and started his second career as a Nuclear Medicine Technologist at the Veterans Administration Hospital (VA) in Miles City, Mont. While he was there he met and married his second wife Anita George, who predeceased him in 1989. After leaving the VA, he worked in Colorado Springs; Wichita, Kan.; and Dallas. In 1982 he earned his bachelor of arts degree from Ottawa University. In 1990 he setup and operated a new scanning instrument, a Positron Emission Tomography Scanner (PETscan). It was the first one in North Texas and one of the first in a non- academic setting. In 1992 he married his current wife Cheryl (Eggert) Lord. In 2002 he was employed by the El Paso Cancer Treatment Center to setup and operate both their mobile and permanent PETscanners until June 7, 2008 when he retired.

Over the years he was an ardent advocate for his fellow veterans. In the early 1990s he was the founding First Vice President for Korean War Veterans Assoc. (KWVA) Chapter 215 in the Dallas area. In El Paso, he joined KWVA Chapter 249 and eventually served as President for over 13 years. He was the founding First Vice President for the KWVA Department of Texas and later served as President. He was the Second and First Vice President and then on the Board of Directors for the national KWVA. He loved helping his fellow veterans and making sure they obtained the VA benefits they earned by serving this nation. He was able to do this by serving on Congressman O’Rourke’s and local and state official’s military committees. One of the accomplishments for these committees was to lobby and get voter approval on the property tax exemption for 100 % service-disabled veterans. Other organizations he belonged to were the Society of Nuclear Medicine, 67th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing, Disabled American Veterans, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Special Forces Chapter IX, American Legion, 82nd Airborne, and War Eagles Air Museum.

Oh, how he loved his sports. The first thing he did when he arrived in El Paso was to get Sun Bowl and UTEP season football tickets. He also frequented Diablo and Chihuahua games. He loved attending the Dallas Cowboys, Texas Rangers and TCU Horn Frog football games when he lived in the Dallas area.

Roy is survived by his son Michael DeWayne Aldridge (Teri) Lolo, Mont., grandchildren Alexander and Danielle Aldridge, great-grandchildren Gabriel and Logan Watts all living in E. Helena, Mont., former daughter-in-law Pamela Aldridge, former wife Mildred Jallings and former mother-in-law Georgia B George. He is survived by his current wife Cheryl (Eggert) Aldridge, her two daughters Susan Hatley (Brett) Bullard, Texas and Kimberly Barnes (Scott) Red Oak, Texas and Susan’s two sons TJ (Hannah) and Parker Wodskow. He loved both the girls as if they where his own. He is also survived by his new-found cousins Dan and Nancy Aldridge, Anshan and Danielle Aldridge, Rob Aldridge and his wife Cheryl, David and Tisha Ritter and Jan Hensley and numerous nieces and nephews. Additionally, he is survived by three special families he and Cheryl adopted. The first two were young Army Captains when they first met: COL Scott and Carmel Dellinger and their children Chase, Clay and Sydney Dellinger stationed at Ramstein AFB, Germany and COL Curran and his wife Lisa Chidester of Fort Sill. The third family is their neighbors Tim and Tatiana Hernandez and their children Evan, Tatiana and Julian. He loved these families as if they were blood relatives. The family wishes to thank his outstanding physicians Doctors Esteban Quirarte and Jaime Quesada, who were so caring in assuring he received the best care. And to his caregivers thank you. Especially to Victor, who was so caring and fun to have in our home. Roy was a kind and generous person. His final act of kindness was the donation of his skin for use by accident and burn victims. Please consider organ donation.

Funeral services will be delayed until the spring with a Celebration of his life to be held in El Paso and burial will follow at the DFW National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, please consider sending memorial contributions to the Legacy of the Korean War Foundation Inc, P.O. Box 619, Tom Bean, TX  75489. They are a 501c (3). This organization is a part of the KWVA and supports the Tell American Program.

Posted online on September 28, 2020