7/27/2012 5:41:00 PM Obituary: Tommie Benjamin Tindell, 1930 - 2012
Tommie Benjamin Tindell, 81, died Wednesday, July 4, 2012, his favorite holiday, surrounded by his loving family and godchildren. Tommie was born July 7, 1930, in McGregor, Texas, to Truman B. and Beulah (Harris) Tindell. He was raised in the McGregor area. He attended high school there, where he played football and was in the ROTC program. His patriotism was evident early. He left high school at age 17 and, after obtaining a signed release from his father, joined the United States Army Air Corps in 1947. His leadership skills were shown when, four days into his basic training, his instructor was killed and because of his ROTC background, Tommie was given a promotion to Private First Class and assigned to take over the basic training for the group. He earned his GED during that time. The Army Air Corps became the United States Air Force shortly after Tommie joined the service and he spent the next 20 years as a Radar Systems Operator on both ground and AWAC systems, with more than 5,532 flight hours. He served in Okinawa, Alaska, Nevada, Japan, California and Oregon and four times at the Othello Radar Base, a testimony to his growing love for the town of Othello. In July 1952, Tommie met Wilma Showalter at a movie theater in Kennewick. That night, he wrote home and told his mother that he had just met the woman he was going to marry. They married July 12, 1953, in Kennewick. He retired from the U.S. Air Force as a technical sergeant in 1967. Tommie was active in serving the Othello community from the time he took his final assignment to the Radar Base in 1966. After he retired from the Irrigation District in 1992, Tommie was free to devote more time doing what he loved, helping people and our community and loudly promoting our nation's flag and what it stands for. He was a part of every aspect of our community, from mentoring children to building birdhouses for the Othello Centennial. He traveled throughout the region and beyond promoting patriotism and respect for our nation's flag. He was heavily involved in the completion of the 87 Forgotten Heroes Memorial in Moses Lake. Tommie was part of the dedication ceremony June 9, 2012, where he presented his Tribute to the American Flag. Tommie loved to garden and sold much of his produce at the farmers market to earn "mad money" so he and his wife could visit their sons in other parts of the country. He was a member of the Othello First Presbyterian Church, the Paul Revere Masonic Lodge No. 205, VFW Post 8889, the National Sojourners group, the Heroes of '76, Eastern Star, Othello Senior Center, Boy Scout Troop No. 806 as a Scout Leader and Order of the Amaranth, where he served as Royal Patron and State Grand Officer. He also served as the first director for the Othello Community Schools and was a recipient of the Othello Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year for 1997. Tommie will be remembered as a devoted husband and father and for his patriotism. He was a man of integrity and honesty. He was very proud of his time in the military. He was a voracious reader and was especially interested in American history. He loved to fish with his family and even taught fishing classes. Tommie was preceded in death by his parents. He is survived by his wife Wilma, of Othello, his sons Tommy Jr. (Nancy) of Colorado Springs, Colo., and Dave (Carol) of Orting, two grandchildren and one great-granddaughter. A time for final visitation will be held at Stevens Funeral Chapel Thursday, July 12, from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. and again Saturday, July 14, from 9 a.m. until 9:45 a.m. at the Othello First Presbyterian Church. A celebration of Tommie's life will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, at the church. To sign the guest book, leave a note for the family or order flowers, please visit stevensfuneralchapel.com. Memorial donations are suggested to the Othello First Presbyterian Church Window Replacement Project, care of the church, or The Amaranth Leonard Cook Permanent Scholarship Fund or the Othello Lions Club, both care of Stevens Funeral Chapel.