Colonel William "Goldie" Goldfein

  • Born: November 26, 1931
  • Died: June 19, 2019
  • Location: San Antonio, Texas

Porter Loring Mortuary

1101 McCullough Avenue
San Antonio, TX 78212
Tel. (210) 227-8221

Tribute & Message From The Family

Retired Air Force Colonel William "Goldie" Goldfein, passed away peacefully on 19 June 2019 in San Antonio, Texas at the age of 87. The world has lost a true American patriot who loved his family, friends, and his country. He never lost his fighting spirit or his sense of humor. An esteemed pilot and career officer in the US Air Force, Goldie loved his military life. Above all though, he loved his family and was adored by his wife, three sons and their wives, six grandchildren, and five great grandchildren.

Colonel William M. Goldfein was born on 26 November 1931 in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota to Joseph William Goldfein and Sarah Samson. He attended Bancroft Elementary School and North High School in St. Paul, and graduated in 1949 from Fairfax High School in Los Angeles, after moving there at the age of 16.

Following a brief enlistment in the US Navy Reserves, he entered into the US Air Force as an airman and a technician on guided missile systems. During this assignment, he was selected for the USAF Aviation Cadet Program, and began his pilot training in1952. Colonel Goldfein took his first assignment in the RF-80 Shooting Star. He also had the opportunity to fly many aircraft over his USAF career that spanned 33 years including: the RF-84F, RF-86F, F-100, RF-101, T-37, and F-4 aircraft accumulating more than 5,500 flying hours to include 400 combat hours in Southeast Asia during 216 combat missions.

He met Mary Vanni, a school teacher, in October 1955 at Yokota Air Base, Japan and they were married on 22 July 1956 in Lewiston, New York. They had three sons: Stephen, David, and Michael and served in numerous assignments around the world. During his time of service, he held various levels of command and staff. Additionally, he attended the USAF Air War College in 1974, while simultaneously receiving his Masters Degree from Troy State University. He retired in 1982 from Nellis AFB, Nevada as the Air Warfare Center's Chief of Staff.

Colonel Goldfein remained in Las Vegas and worked for the Combined Federal Campaign and then the Link Simulation Division in Binghamton, New York, where he and Mary enjoyed ten years living near Montrose, Pennsylvania. They returned to Las Vegas again where they lived in Summerlin, in close proximity to Nellis AFB, where they continued to engage in base activities.

Finally, Goldie and Mary have spent the last 12 years enjoying independent living at Blue Skies of Texas West in San Antonio, Texas. They chose to move here where they have many resident friends with whom they have soldiered over the years. The social life they led and friends they have made throughout the years is a testament to their generosity, dedication to their community, and love for people. Goldie was always known for his sharp wit, his engaging and infectious personality, and his ability to look at life philosophically. His adventurous spirit and fearless persona prevailed to the end. Goldie loved life, period. He will be sorely missed and no doubt he is soaring high in Heaven. God speed!

Colonel Goldfein is survived by his wife of nearly 63 years, Mary Vanni Goldfein, his sister Greta Honigsfeld, his sons Stephen (Jeanne), David (Dawn), and Michael (Carole). Goldie inspired his six grandchildren: Alexander Goldfein (Colleen), Travis Goldfein (Kara), Danielle Fleming (Reece), Diana Glass (Cameron), and Scotty and Hanna Goldfein. Goldie's beloved "Great Grand-Girls" include Addison and Sadie Goldfein, Rory Goldfein, Ava Fleming and Raegan Glass. His parents and his sister, Shelley Goldfein Blum, preceded him in death.

A military burial ceremony will take place on 9 July 2019 at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio, Texas. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Air Warrior Courage Foundation at The family would like to thank everyone for their condolences and outpouring of love at this time.


Condolence & Memory Journal

What an honor to have become a distant member of the Goldfein family through the marriage of our daughter Dawn and David, from our first meeting at the wedding till our last moments on June 15th, you have been and will always be special to our family. Thanks for accepting an old Navy pilot as your friend, I miss you dearly, the terrible golf we played and the beer afterwards, God bless and keep you my Friend.

Posted by James Duncan - Boerne, TX - Friend   July 28, 2019

Godspeed Goldie. Fair skies and tailwinds always.

Mike Hegarty and the 91st TFS

Posted by Mike Hegarty - Collierville, TN - Served in the Military together   July 03, 2019

What A wonderful legacy Billy leaves behind. His great love for his country and for his amazing family. He was so proud of his children and grandchildren. He will be sorely missed but will leave behind so many wonderful memories for his family and friends to share.

Posted by Judy Torodor - Rancho Mirage, CA - Family   June 30, 2019

Goldie you will be greatly missed. May you Rest In Peace and God bless you

Posted by Nails Frank Knight - Cibolo, TX - Served in the Military together   June 29, 2019


Deepest condolences to family and friends of the Colonel. God bless him and his service to our country.

Posted by David Barton - Misawa, Japan - Served in the Military together   June 29, 2019

My condolences to his family , may him rest in peace

Posted by Sauf Aldammin - Jordan - Served in the Military together   June 28, 2019

So sorry for your loss. Your family are in our thoughts and prayers...Col (ret) David and Mrs Gossett

Posted by David Gossett - Lawrenceburg, KY - Family Friend   June 28, 2019

I was very fortunate to fly my T-41 Checkride and my T-37 Checkride with this fine man that I was able to keep in touch with until 2019. We were able to get to know each other through the years with the use of the internet. He loved to hunt, and I was able to set up a duck hunt for him, with my Father who had a duck blind in the Mississippi Delta-- in Glen Allan , Mississippi, the year I cannot recall. We traded emails for a number of years, the last in early 2019. I recently found out he had passed away. I ask God to bless his family, and wish all the best to all the members of "Goldie"s family. I will remember him as long as I am on this earth....

Posted by LEONARD VANDEVENDER - MATHEWS, AL - Served in the Military together   June 28, 2019

Mary, "Fingers" and family--
When "legends" go West, they leave a hole in our hearts. The good news is that hole is soon replaced by the glorious memories of why they were "legends."
May God bless you all in your time of loss. We'll all raise a glass to "Goldie." He would accept nothing less.
Bill Croom
USAF (Ret) and fellow Hun Driver
AFA National Secretary 1997-2000

Posted by Bill Croom - San Antonio, TX - Friend   June 28, 2019

Family Album