Raisor, Harry E.

Harry Eugene Raisor

Harry E. Raisor, Major, USAF (Retired)

April 25, 1930 – December 28, 2021

Harry Eugene Raisor took his final flight and landing, or in pilot jargon “bought the farm” at the age of 91 years.

Harry had a great life full of events and blessings that many men would have loved to live. Raised in West Virginia in 1930s, he had an outstanding career as an Air Force pilot, including flying KC-135’s (mid-air refueling tankers) and HH-43 rescue helicopters. He once mentioned that once he got into air rescue, he never had to pay for a drink at the Officers Club. He had a great wife, Jo Ann of 61 years, three awesome kids, wonderful grandchildren, first-class friends, gratifying law enforcement positions, a stock car racing career, and the privilege of building & directing the award winning Easterwood Airport. He was also highlighted as one of Brazos Valley’s “Veterans of the Vietnam War” at the Museum of the American GI.

Best friends didn’t know all about Harry. He boated and water-skied on lakes in Louisiana, Texas and Arkansas, visited with Bob Hope in Thailand, rode horses in New Mexico, flew in white-out snow conditions in Maine, Labrador and Alaska, and once rode along with the Olympic American bobsled team. He phased through motor scooters, fast cars, Volkswagen’s, campers, travel trailers and motor-homes. He toured Spain, swam in Bermuda, landed aircraft in the Azores, bought moonshine from “distillers” in West Virginia, had St. Elmo’s fire in a plane full of fuel over the North Pole, and has been all over the world or as he liked to say, he has either “flown over them or lived on them”. He flew and met politicians, celebrities and world-renowned athletes—everyone from three former Presidents to VIPs of Hollywood, from race car drivers to entertainers.

Never a person to leave things to chance, Harry left detailed instructions on his vast number of accomplishments for his obituary. I guess he wanted it to be a long one. So, per instructions, here we go: All-State basketball player (Talcott, WV), president of his junior and senior class, Danforth Award winner for leadership, bachelor’s degree from West Virginia University (WVU), Master’s Degree from WVU in psychology, Cadet Colonel of Air Force ROTC, and Distinguished Military Graduate Award. Upon graduating college, he also listed: Air Force pilot, 5th in pilot training class, USAF War College, Escape and Evasion Survival School, Jungle Survival School, Jets/Helicopter Instructor Pilot, Flight Examiner, taught aviation law for the University of Albuquerque, served as a base psychologist at Loring AFB, Maine. He had over 9000 hours in the air and flew 17 different aircraft. In rescue helicopters he piloted 169 missions in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War. He built and raced stock-cars for 15 years. After 22 years in the Air Force, he became the Director of Aviation and chief pilot for Texas A&M University at Easterwood Airport for another 22 years. He was instrumental in the development of Easterwood as we know it today with its terminal and additional runways. He also served for 29 years as a reserve deputy constable for Brazos County with a master police officer rating.

Overall, we hope that everyone that knew Harry would think of him as a great friend and good man. He was one of a kind, a true original. Seen by all as a leader. It was a great flight, pilot!! Nice landing!!

In typical Harry fashion he requested that a memorial party be held with BBQ and beer, knowing fully well that it is a party that he wouldn’t be able to attend. His friends are invited to join us as we tell “war stories” and tall tales remembering the larger-than-life spirit of Harry on February 4, 2022, at Grace Bible Church, 700 Anderson St., College Station, at 2:30.

Harry was preceded in death by his parents, Helen and McAlpine “Mack” Raisor, his wife Jo Ann Forman Raisor, and his great-grandson Anderson Todd. He is survived by his three children and spouses, Michelle Raisor and Greg Galow of College Station, Scott and Cindy Raisor of College Station, Randy Raisor and Tom McCaffrey of Seattle, Washington, grand children and their spouses Lauren & Jeramie Todd of Bryan, Natalie & Jeremy Eldridge of College Station, and Samuel & Anna Raisor of Princeton, New Jersey, friend and companion Diane Spencer of Tennessee, many poker buddies, a faithful dog, and good friend Bob McCreight whom he shared many a Friday night pizza.

Published by The Bryan-College Station Eagle on Feb. 2, 2022.

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