Thomas Herbert Spear

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Thomas "Bert" Herbert Spear
October 28, 1947 - December 19, 2017
Thomas Herbert "Bert" Spear died of a stroke December 19, 2017, in his home in Redding, California. He was 70.
Bert was born October 28, 1947, in Frankfurt, Germany, to Air Force Captain Robert Brinkerhoff Spear and his wife, Dorothy Ball Spear. Bert's father was a founding father of the United States Air Force Academy, and its first basketball coach.
Bert grew up on the Academy, graduated from Air Academy High School in 1966, and the Air Force Academy in the class of 1970. At the Academy, Bert played basketball for his father and was a teammate of Gregg Popovich, now the coach of the San Antonio Spurs.
Bert married Beverly Earhart, his high school sweetheart, in 1974; and they had three beautiful daughters-Jamie, Kelle, and Lisa.
During the Vietnam War, Bert flew B-52s over Cambodia and North Vietnam, earning the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm, the Air Force Longevity Services Award with one oak leaf cluster, and the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award and Commendation Medal.
In 1980, he was honorably discharged from the Air Force as a captain and, after a divorce from Beverly, moved to California where he worked as a United States Forest Service field worker and a tax preparer for 22 years.
Bert is survived by his three daughters: Jamie (Shannon) Fry, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Kelle (Travis) Christianson, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; and Lisa Spear (Eddie Miller), Malibu, California; eleven grandchildren, grandnieces and nephews; and two brothers: Brink Spear, Colorado Springs, and Barry Spear, Hesperus, Colorado. He was predeceased by his parents; and his youngest brother, Berney.
A memorial service and internment for Bert is scheduled for 1 pm on Friday, June 29, at the United States Air Force Academy cemetery.
Tax deductible donations in Bert's name may be made to the Bert Spear Memorial Fund, c/o the Riley Family Foundation, 1636 East Street, Redding, California 96001.

Published in The Gazette on June 3, 2018