Noel Thomas “Tom” Bird passed away peacefully August 28, 2018. He was 80 years old. Tom was born to Eldiva and Noel William Bird on November 10, 1937 in his beloved small town, Jasper, Texas.
Tom followed his aspirations and dreams of becoming a pilot. At ten years of age, he worked at the county airport as a line boy. He started flying at age twelve and soloed at age fourteen.
Upon completion of high school, he joined the U.S. Navy in hopes of being a pilot, but the Navy instituted the requirement of a college degree. He returned to school, attending Lamar University where he received a degree in Biology. He returned to the Navy where he initially became a Medical Service Corps officer. He requested flight training which commenced at the Pensacola, Florida Naval Training Center.
Upon completion of flight training, he was awarded “Top Flight” for flight and academic experience. Tom was also the first Medical Service Corps officer to go through flight training. Tom spent 26 years of service in the Navy. He served as a light attack pilot flying the A4M and as a carrier based fighter pilot flying the F4J. He was transferred to fleet logistics support squadron flying the Navy C9-B aircraft. CDR Noel Thomas Bird retired from the U.S. Navy to continue his career in commercial aviation joining Midway Airlines as a pilot in 1982. He was Captain on the DC9 and Boeing 737-200 advanced MD80 aircraft.
His flying career eventually led him to overseas positions. He flew for Transmed Airlines in Egypt, Asiana Airlines in South Korea, and China National in Hong Kong. At age 60, he became a flight simulator instructor in the Boeing 737 in South Korea working for Alteon, a subsidiary of Boeing. He fully retired from a long, rewarding and fun-filled career after a debilitating fall from a flight simulator in S. Korea, April 2004.
Tom is survived by his wife, Pamela, and his two children from a previous marriage, Julie Morgan and Noel T. Bird, Jr. A private celebration of life and memorial service will be held at a future date.
In lieu of flowers, please contribute to the animal care at the Humane Society Naples, 370 Airport Pulling Road North, Naples FL 34104.