Rex Mercer Medcalf, treasured father, died peacefully at home on Dec. 2, 2008, in Austin. Dad was a humble and honest man with a streak of self reliance common to many of his generation. He also had a smile and sense of humor that allowed him to meet and make new friends.
Rex was born in Bangs, Texas, on June 12, 1922, to William E. and Maggie Medcalf. During the Depression, he grew up in a small community but with many nearby relatives. He attended local schools and graduated from Bangs High School in 1939.
Rex began a military career in July 1940 at age 18 and he served as an Army Aviator in World War II. In 1945 he was married to Irene Olson of Ellendale, Minn. He attended college through the GI Bill and in 1950 received his degree in Pharmacology from the University of Oklahoma. Rex practiced briefly before being recalled to military service in the Korean War. He decided to make the U.S. Army his career, and served his country first as a fixed wing and later as a helicopter pilot, including service in Vietnam, and retired at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 1968 after many assignments in the US, Europe and Asia. Rex then resumed his pharmacy career in Washington State until he and Irene retired to Austin to be closer to family.
Rex enjoyed golf, fishing, gardening, repairing things, and playing bridge and dominoes with his church friends and seniors group. He made considerable efforts to attend family, high school, and military reunions.
He was especially proud to associate with his fellow Sergeant Pilots, a very unique group of 2,574 men who completed advanced pilot training and were warranted as enlisted pilots in 1942. He maintained his interests and developed new ones while also becoming primary caregiver for Irene for nearly 15 years.
Rex was preceded in death by his parents; by Irene, his wife of 61 years; and by his son-in-law, Joe Rymal.
Survivors include daughters, Cheryl Henry and Greta Rymal of Austin; sister, Sylva Whitehead of Fort Worth; sisters-in-law, Mary Ann Rowher, Eva Olson, Marion Utpadal and Jo Ann Olson all of Minnesota; nephews, nieces and cousins; as well as his neighbors and many friends.
The family invites friends to visit at Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home, 2620 South Congress in Austin from 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 9. The funeral service will be held at Abiding Love Lutheran Church, 7210 Brush Country Road in Austin on Wednesday, Dec. 10 at 9:30 a.m., followed by a service with full military honors conducted at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery at 2 p.m.
Memorial contributions may be made to Abiding Love Lutheran Church, Salvation Army, Mayo Clinic, MADD or wildlife organizations, all of whom Dad supported.
The family is grateful to the many caregivers and medical personnel who cared for him, especially Dr. Punit Chada, the staff of Texas Oncology and Hospice Austin for their compassionate care.
Arrangements by Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home South Congress, 2620 S. Congress, Austin, TX (512) 442-1446. You may view memorials at www.wcfish.com.