Dedicated to the Preservation of the
U.S. Air Force Helicopter History
Don Edward Van Meter, Colonel, USAF (Retired)September 7, 1937 – September 07, 1937
Donald Edward Van MeterSeptember 7, 1937-March 1, 2017
U.S. Air Force Retired Colonel Donald Edward Van Meter, 79, of College Station, TX, passed away on Wednesday, March 1, 2017.
He was born on September 07, 1937 in Kansas City, MO. He grew up in many small towns throughout Oklahoma. Upon graduating from Bowlegs High School, he attended University of Oklahoma, Norman, and was a member of Delta Sigma Phi Fraternity. In 1959 he married Rose Ann Shackle. He graduated from OU and commissioned in the U.S. Air Force in 1960.
Don Van Meter was a Vietnam War Veteran, Air War College graduate and was the recipient of numerous medals and commendations, including the Distinguished Flying Cross and Meritorious Service Medal. Don was very proud of his service in Vietnam as a helicopter rescue pilot with over 20 saves.
For the first decade of their marriage, Don and Rose traveled extensively with his job in the U.S. Air Force, including overseas assignment in France.
Don returned to University of Oklahoma in 1969 and completed his Juris Doctorate in 1972. He then moved to Lawton, OK, where he practiced law and where he and Rose raised their children. He was a member of the Oklahoma and Texas Bar Associations. He also served as a Lawton City Councilman.
Don and Rose relocated to Wichita Falls in 1992 where he worked in civil service for the JAG office at Shepherd Air Force Base. After retiring from the Air Force, and from civil service, Don continued to practice law in the role of a mediator.
Don was a freemason for 45 years and was a member of the Norman Lodge #38 A.F. & A.M. in Norman, OK, past master of J.A.Kemp Lodge#1287 A.F. & A.M. and Maskat Shrine Provost Guard of Wichita Falls, TX. He also had a lifelong passion for teaching and mentoring, early with Boy Scouts – including leading a group trip to Philmont, NM, and later in his life with 4-H, teaching and supporting shooting sport programs.
Don himself was a competitive shooter at a national level, and life supporter of the Texas State Rifle Association. He was an active member of the Northwest Texas Field and Stream Association in Wichita Falls. He also belonged to the Military Order of World Wars, BSA (Been Shot At) Career Aviation Veterans, Class of 62A Bainbridge Flight Organization, Pedro Rescue and USAF Helicopter Associations.
Don loved to be outdoors with friends and family enjoying hunting and fishing. He took great joy in making things – woodworking, gardening and most recently drawing and painting. He had an adventurous spirit and traveled often.
Don is survived by his loving wife, Rose A. Van Meter; his sister, Marilyn Beckner and her husband, Tom Beckner, of Ooltewah, TN; his children, Brice and Amy Van Meter, of The Woodlands, TX, Tori and Ed Janousek, of College Station TX; his nephew and family, Tod and Monika Beckner, of Ooltewah, TN; his niece, Diana Beckner, of Denver, CO; and his grandchildren, Hannah and Hunter Van Meter, Raquel Cable, Holly Houston, Matt and Travis Janousek.
A Memorial Service will be held at 2:00 p.m., Sunday, March 12th at Hillier Funeral Home in College Station, TX, followed by full military honors and a reception. There will be a graveside dedication at the Houston National Cemetery, Houston, TX, on Monday, March 13th at 10:00 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to a charity of your choice.
Please visit www.hillierfuneralhome.com and share your favorite memory of Don.
On 03/02/17, Rose Van Meter wrote:
Don fell February 9 and broke his femur where it joins the hip. It looked like he was on the path to recovery when he had been moved to a rehabilitation hospital on Saturday, February 25.
On Sunday evening he collapsed. We later found out that he aspirated some food, could not cough it up and was without oxygen for too long, which caused cardiac arrest. They tried Hypothermic Protocol to try and revive him but it was not successful.
Don died on Wednesday, March 1, 2017.
His funeral is scheduled for Sunday week, March 12, 2017, 2 p.m. at Hillier’s Funeral Home, 4080 State Hwy 6 South, College Station, TX 77845.
His military internment with Honors is being scheduled for Monday, March 13 at the National Cemetery in Houston, the time is not yet confirmed. I will let you know as soon as available.
Rose Van Meter