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LTC James T. Pearlman

Obituary for LTC James T. Pearlman

August 8, 1933 - July 12, 2019
San Antonio, Texas | Age 85


On July 12, 2019, LTC James T. Pearlman Army Retired took his final flight in his P51-D Mustang. Tom spent all of his productive adult life as an officer in the uniform of our United States Army in the service of our country. Tom has served all of us for 28 years. He traveled to and through approximately 43 countries while in uniform. He served several tours of voluntary duty in the combat zones of S. Vietnam as an infantry officer and as an Army Aviator. He flew all manner of Army aircraft, both fixed and rotary wing, single and multi-engine and accumulated more than 5,000 hours of flight time, including thousands of combat hours.

Tom was born in Battle Creek, Michigan, on August 8, 1933. He graduated from Howe Military School in Indiana in 1951 and entered Michigan State University. He graduated the summer of 1955 and received his gold bars as a 2nd Lieutenant. Tom went into the "Brown Shoe Army" and wore the Army pinks and greens, which he loved dearly. His first assignment was the Basic Infantry Officers' Course at Fort Benning in Columbus, Georgia. In 1963 he was among a prestigious group chosen to attend USC in Los Angeles where he completed the Aerospace and Missile Course for which he was awarded a Master's Degree. The end of 1963, he was sent to Germany as the division and battalion officer at the Hanau Airfield. This assignment was interrupted by the infamous "Midnight Massacre" in Vietnam. As a result, all turbine rated helicopter pilots, who were available in Germany, were sent to the combat zone in Vietnam. Tom was one of these. Before he arrived in Vietnam, he was told to avoid the First Cavalry Division and stay away from the First of the Ninth. His group was sent to An-Khe, home of the First Cavalry Division. Tom met the executive officer of the First of the Ninth, an old friend, who told him the A-Troop commander had been killed in action and Tom was taking his place. That was the beginning of a series of experiences that would make Tom's tour in Vietnam the most memorable "vacation" he had ever had.

He volunteered for 3 tours of duty in Vietnam. He completed two; then President Nixon announced the beginning of the US forces in Vietnam draw-down. Tom had received many medals and awards during his tours in Vietnam. Of all the prestigious awards he received, he always said the CIB (Combat Infantry Badge) was the most revered. He wore it proudly on every uniform.

Eventually, he was assigned to Fort Sam and the headquarters, Fifth US Army. He spent 4 years in this position. In 1976 he received orders to go to Korea as the Director Forward Command Post United Nations Command (UNC), 8th US Army and US Forces-Korea (USFK). During this time, the Office of the President, Republic of Korea, presented him with a Citation for the Order of National Security Merit Samil Medal. This specified "his valuable dedication and service have gained for him the appreciation and admiration of the Korean people." After his two year-stay, he was sent back to Fort Sam. He retired from active duty September, 1979, at the age of 46.

He worked for himself off and on. He met and married his wife, Janice, who was a teacher at Cole High School, Fort Sam Houston. They live at Timberwood Park.

In 2018 he received his fifty-year pin and certificate from the St. Peter's Lodge No. 54 in South Carolina, having been raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason in August, 1964, in Battle Creek, Michigan, Lodge No. 12. He was a Member in Perpetuity National Sojourners, a Life Member of Vietnam Veterans of America and Life member of Order of Daedalians. He was a member of Post No. 0665 of the American Legion.

Tom is preceded in death by his father, Aaron Pearlman; mother, Louise Effron; and sister, Tamara.

Surviving are sisters, Dee Brown (South Carolina) and Patty Pearlman; two brothers, John and Bill, his wife Brenda (Michigan). Brother, Rockie Effron, wife Carole (Indiana); Son, Tom, Jr.; his daughter, Rachel; her children, Arielle and Ryder; his daughter, Sadye; his son, Tommy (W. Virginia). Son, Patrick, his wife Lisa; their daughters, Kathryn and Hannah (Australia). Since Tom never tolerated the term "step," he considered his wife, Janice's children, as his own Son, Stephen Holman, wife Becky; their daughters, Chelsea and Lindsey (California). Daughter, Lisa, her husband Mills Rich (California); daughter, Lori, her husband Jeff Duncan (California). Still alive and well at the age of 98, the woman he called his mother, Marjorie Pearlman, living in Battle Creek, Michigan. Many nieces, nephews and cousins are spread throughout the United States; and his beloved dog, Maggie.

The family owes a special thanks to the Frank Tejeda Veteran's Home in Floresville, Texas, for the loving care Tom received for the last two years. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the Wounded Warriors.

The family will receive friends from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Monday, July 22, 2019 at Porter Loring Mortuary North.

TUESDAY, JULY 23, 2019
11:30 A.M.

Interment will follow in Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery.

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Porter Loring Mortuary North

2102 North Loop 1604 East
San Antonio, TX 78232
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