Dedicated to the Preservation of the
U.S. Air Force Helicopter History
Gerald “Jerry” J. Lange, Lt. Colonel, USAF (Retired)July 15, 1934 – June 26, 2013
Lt. Col. (Ret.) Gerald J. Lange of Auburn, Ala., passed away Wednesday, June 26, 2013.
Jerry was born on July 15, 1934 at Barberton Hospital and grew up in Wadsworth, Ohio. He graduated from Kent State University with a BS degree in math education. Jerry was a good athlete and in college he was on the basketball and tennis teams.
After graduation he was commissioned into the U.S. Air Force. He married his high school sweetheart Barbara Springer, on June 9, 1957 and for the next 20 years they moved around the country and began their family. They had two daughters, Michelle and Nancy.
During his career his piloting experience included flying F-100’s, T-33’s and B-47’s. He continued his education getting a BS in electrical engineering from the University of Colorado in 1964. From 1964 to 1965, he served as an electrical engineer with the Air Force Systems Command in California.
The family arrived in Selma, Ala. in June of 1965 where he served as a T-38 instructor pilot, assistant flight commander and chief of officer training at Craig Air Force Base. Jerry earned his MS in education foundations from Troy State University and in 1971 he served his country in Vietnam. He flew rescue helicopters (H-1, H-3, and HH-53 Jolly Green Giants).
Jerry and his family next moved to Auburn in 1972. He was assigned to the Auburn University AFROTC. He retired from the Air Force in 1976 as a Lt. Colonel and Command Pilot with over 4,000 flying hours.
His military awards include the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Presidential Unit Citation, the Air Force Commendation Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal and a Meritorious Service Medal.
After his career in the Air Force ended Jerry worked as assistant director of the Engineering Extension Service at Auburn University and he also spent a few years as a real estate agent.
Jerry was a loving husband to Barbara, a caring father to Michelle and Nancy and a wonderful grandfather to Adam, Jack and Rachel.
He was preceded in death by his beloved Barbara Lange; his parents, Edward and Hilda Lange; his father, Jack Alderfer; and his son-in-law, Leonard Levin.
He is survived by his daughters, Michelle K. Stevenson (David) of Moore, S.C. and Nancy J. Levin of Auburn, Ala.; grandchildren, Adam, Jack and Rachel Stevenson of Moore, S.C. His brother, George (Lorna) Alderfer of Easton, Pa.; and his sisters, Betty (Harry) Ruppel of Wadsworth, Ohio and Nancy (Ted) Payn of Lodi, Ohio.
In his later years Jerry enjoyed his church family and participating in church activities.
Thank you to the doctors, nurses and staff of EAMC and Bethany House for their excellent care.
Funeral service will be held Saturday, June 29, 2013 at Trinity Lutheran Church at 11 a.m. with Pastor Hudspith officiating. Graveside service with Military Rites will follow at Town Creek Cemetery. Jeffcoat-Trant Funeral Home & Crematory is directing.www.jeffcoattrant.com
Published in Akron Beacon Journal on June 29, 2013
He served in Vietnam with the 37th ARRS in 1970 – 1971