Colonel Frank Darwin Reeder, 89, passed peacefully into the arms of his Lord, April 15, 2021. Services will be held in celebration of his life and accomplishments on Saturday, April 24, 2021, at Southside Baptist Church, 730 East Flournoy Lucas Rd., Shreveport, La.
Visitation will be held at the church from 10:00-11:00 a.m., with services beginning at 11:00 a.m. Brother Buddy Hankins will be officiating, followed by graveside service with military honors at Forest Park West Cemetery, 4000 Meriwether Rd., Shreveport, La.
Frank, known as Darwin to family, was born on August 8, 1931, in Farmerville, La. to Benjamin F. and Zelia K. Reeder. As a young boy, Frank’s family moved to Metairie, La. where he eventually graduated from Metairie High School. Upon graduation, Frank left for Baylor University where he achieved his Bachelor’s Degree in History. During this time, Frank’s family moved to Shreveport. When he came home from college to visit, Frank began attending Southside Baptist Church, which is where he met the love of his life, Erma P. Ford. In 1953, Frank graduated from Baylor, shortly thereafter married Erma, and was commissioned into the Air Force beginning his 30-year career with Erma faithfully by his side.
Frank’s first assignment was in Enid, Oklahoma at Vance AFB where he started his pilot training. As a pilot of 14 years, he logged in thousands of flight hours taking him all over the world. Throughout Frank’s deployments, including two tours in Vietnam, he earned many medals for his service and bravery. As a pilot in Vietnam, Frank received a Purple Heart, Silver Star, Bronze Star, 2 Distinguished Flying Crosses, one of which includes flying in battle for heroism, 9 air medals, and a Combat Readiness Medal and 2 Vietnam Gallantry Crosses; with many more honors and medals in Vietnam and during his career. He was certified in seven different aircraft: B25, B26, C54, T-33, C124, C130, and AC 47.
Throughout his career, Frank was stationed at numerous bases in the US and overseas. During his many assignments he furthered his education earning a B.S. in Meteorology from Florida State, and his M.S. in Atmospheric Science from Colorado State. Frank took great pride in knowing that his wife and children were able to experience much of Europe and many parts of the United States. All during these years, as “Daddy” to Larry, Ken, Roxanne, Rene’ and Tonya, he always encouraged and supported his kids in many endeavors such as camping, fishing, hunting, Boy/Girl Scouts, dance, music, and numerous sports. He and Erma instilled in their kids a passion for reading from an early age. He frequently stated, “Reading is an activity that you can continue throughout your life”.
When Frank retired from the USAF in 1983, he and Erma moved back to Shreveport, where it all began. He then took a position as the JROTC Senior Aerospace Science Instructor at Bossier High School for the next 10 years. He often spoke of his pride and enjoyment of the many students and faculty members at Bossier High.
As a sportsman, Frank enjoyed fishing, camping, and hunting; however, golf was his passion. Frank was an avid golfer. He played in and won numerous tournaments; he was particularly proud of his wall of framed score cards highlighting his holes in one. Eventually Erma caught the golfing bug as well and together they traveled across the country playing many famous golf courses. Frank and Erma embarked on trips around the world — China, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, all throughout Eastern and Western Europe, the Caribbean, and yearly trips to their Colorado cabin, all the while visiting family and friends. Frank also enjoyed his church family and services, as well as, his Lion’s Club members and meetings.
Preceding him in death was his father, Benjamin F. Reeder; mother, Zelia K. Reeder; son, Kenneth R. Reeder; and wife of 64 years, Erma F. Reeder.
Frank is survived by his children: son Larry (Martha), and daughters Roxanne, Rene’, and Tonya; brother Johnnie (Saroyle Gay); brother-in-law Wayne (Sophie), eight grandchildren April (Richard), Samantha (Jeff), Ryan Michele (Adam), Bryce, Erin, Cason, Callan (Derek), and Dylan; three great-grandchildren, Elijah, Phoebe, Marigny, and soon-to-be great-grandchild #4, Evelyn; and many nieces, nephews, and extended family.
The family would like to extend their warm appreciation to the many family and friends for their love, support, and prayers. The family is grateful to the wonderful and caring staff of Willis-Knighton Pierremont, The Glen, and St. Joseph’s Hospice.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations in Frank’s honor can be made to The Lions Club of Bossier City, Wounded Warrior Project, or any pet friendly charity.
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