March 7, 1931 – Jan. 30, 2020
Colonel George L. Von Tersch, 88, died peacefully in his Helena, Montana home on January 30, 2020. Retired military, he served 29 years in the Air Force in various capacities including 16 months during the Vietnam Conflict. Colonel Von Tersch was born on March 7, 1931 in Northboro, Iowa to Alfred and Martha Emerson Von Tersch. He was the youngest of four sons and four years older than his sister. The family moved to Marshalltown, Iowa in 1944 and he lived there until he left for college. He graduated from Iowa State College, now Iowa State University, in 1953. George was commissioned as a second Lieutenant in the United States Air Force upon graduation and was called to active duty in December.
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George created a strong and loving family. He married Catherine Carol Carlson in Mason City, Iowa the day after Christmas in 1953. Their marriage was a partnership that lasted 63 years. George and Carol had four children: three daughters and one son. The family moved many times due to Air Force reassignments, giving each child a unique view of the world from the very beginning. He was a gifted mathematician and tutored his children and grandchildren in mathematical and technological skills.
After graduating from pilot training in 1954, George received several flying assignments. In Dover, DE he delivered fighter jets to state-side bases as well as NATO bases in Europe. In addition to Dover, he was stationed in Chaumont, France, Dayton, OH, Goldsboro, NC, Montgomery, AL, the Air Force Academy as an instructor, Bellevue, NE and finally returned to Dayton. He furthered his education at the Air Force Institute of Technology and earned a MSEE degree. In 1966, Col. Von Tersch was assigned to Danang, Vietnam. He flew 146 combat missions in the F4C jet and was awarded 14 air medals and one Distinguished Flying Cross. Following retirement from the Air Force, George was employed as an engineer at Goodyear Aerospace in Phoenix, Arizona. He and Carol spent 33 years in Arizona, making it their longest “assignment”.
He is survived by his children: Cathy Stone (Don), Linda Clarkson, Gail Brown, Brad Von Tersch; his eight grandchildren, Christina Rogers (Coty), Catie England (Jason), Bryce Von Tersch, Claire Dalzell (Jason), Kory Brown, Nathan Clarkson, Travis Von Tersch, Sarah Von Tersch; and great-grandchildren, Hunter Rogers and Koby Brown. He is preceded in death by his wife, Carol, his siblings, Donald, Wayne, Alfred and Beth and by his son-in-law Kerry Brown (Gail).
Cremation has taken place. George will join Carol at the National Cemetery of Arizona where he will be interred with military honors on April 20, 2020. Please visit www.aswfuneralhome.com to offer the family a condolence or share a memory of George.