Posted: Thu 9:39 AM, Feb 14, 2013
Funeral Home: Wilkirson-Hatch-Bailey Funeral Home
February 24, 1920 - February 12, 2013
Lt. Col. John Sleeper, Jr. (USAF)(Ret), age 92, of College Station, Texas, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, February 12, 2013. Services will be 11:00 a.m., Saturday, February 16, at Wilkirson-Hatch-Bailey Funeral Home. Graveside services with military honors will be at Oakwood Cemetery in Waco following the service.
John was born February 24, 1920, in Wyandotte County, Kansas, and came to Texas with his family at the age of 15 to a small farm near Elm Mott. He graduated from Waco High School and attended Texas A&M (class of 1942). He was commissioned as a 2nd Lt. in the Army Air Corps in 1942 and left active duty as a Captain in January 1947. As a member of the Air Force Reserve, he was recalled to active military duty in February 1951 during the Korean War. He graduated from Air Command and Staff school in 1957 and the Air War College Seminar Program.
He served in Korea during the war, Japan and Turkey. He held several command and staff positions in the Air Force, notably that of commander of one of the first combat ready crews in the ICMB weapons system at Lowry AFB, Denver, Colorado (Strategic Air Command). In 1965, he was Deputy Base Commander of Frances E. Warren AFB, Cheyenne, Wyoming, the largest ICBM base in the free world. He was commander of a space (object) tracking station in Eastern Turkey from 1966-1967. His military decorations include the Bronze Star, two commendation medals and the Korean Defense medal with two battle stars.
Colonel Sleeper along with two friends installed and owned the water distribution systems in the Elm Mott and Riesel communities during the late 1940s. After retirement from the U.S. Air Force in 1971, he was involved in cattle farming. He was an avid golfer and participated in numerous Texas A&M and military tournaments in and out of the state. He was a Methodist and a 32 Degree Master Mason and a member of George N. Denton Lodge No. 24 AF & AM, Waco, Texas, since 1948.
John was preceded in death by his first wife of 45 years, Juanelle Sleeper; second wife, Jonelle Q. Carpenter; and his sisters, Charlene Sleeper, Neva Byers and Mary Donahew.
Survivors include his children, Susie Messick of Broomfield, Colorado: John Sleeper III and wife, Sharon, of College Station; Jan Daniel and husband, Bill, of Humble, Texas; Karen Balke and husband, Keith, of Spring, Texas; nine grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren; and brother, Colonel Julian Sleeper, U.S. Army Retired of Oklahoma City, Okla.
With heartfelt gratitude, the family expresses their deepest appreciation to the Waterford staff and Brazos Valley Hospice.
Pallbearers will be grandsons, Brian Messick, Robert Sleeper, Ryan Daniel, Kevin Messick, Russ Daniel and J.W. Sleeper. Honorary pallbearers are his granddaughters, LeAnn Schneider, Brinda Messick Nygaard and Kayla Balke.
In lieu of flowers, a memorial donation can be made to Sul Ross Group - MSC Pillar Campaign, in care of Texas A & M Foundation, 401 George Bush Drive, College Station, TX 77840.
The family invites you to leave a message or memory in our "Memorial Guestbook" at www.WilkirsonHatchBailey.com