Obituary: Herbert Lenvil Critser

MSgt. Herbert Lenvil Critser, USAF(Ret.), age 92, passed away peacefully at his home in Midlothian, TX, December 15, 2020, with his loving wife of 58 years, two children and his son-inlaw by his side. Herb, also known as “Bud”, was the strongest, bravest, most dedicated, loving and kind-hearted husband, father, “Poppy”, brother and uncle ever, and we rejoice with him as he now rests in his eternal heavenly home, and envision he is joyfully gardening, bowling, inventing, on the beach, and flying again to his heart’s content!

Herb was born September 10, 1928 to Vernon and Irma Crouch Critser on their farmland in Miller, Missouri, at “The Old Poland Place”. He attended Freedom School -- a one-room schoolhouse built by his great grandfather and others in the 1870s -- also attended by his grandmother and mother preceding, and his siblings. When older, he and his sister Dorthy would sing at the Round Grove Baptist Church (his great-great grandfather donated the land for the church and cemetery.)

The family moved to CO, where he attended middle and high school in Keenesburg; he also attended Fairview, and Lockwood schools in MO.

Herb enlisted in the United States Air Force July 9, 1948, at 19 years of age, and was inducted at Fort MacArthur, San Pedro, CA. He was first assigned to a B-25 squadron at Barksdale AFB. After Flight Engineer Ground School & Flight Training in B-29s, he was assigned to Strategic Air Command (SAC) flying K-29s at Dow; later flying KC-97s at March AFB. He was in the 303rd Air Refueling Squadron at Kindley in Bermuda for almost 4 years. Herb was a part of the first nonstop refueling flight around the world and in Guam. He served his country through the conflicts of the Cold War, Korean War, and Vietnam era.

Some of his awards include the Air Force Commendation Medal, Outstanding Unit Award, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, & Small Arms Expert Marksmanship. He was also an avid bowler, receiving his first Perfect 300-game trophy while stationed in Bermuda at Kindley AFB. Perfect games and many trophies followed as he remained in leagues with the companies he worked for following his AF service. He was also stationed in Texas, Louisiana, Georgia and Florida, prior to getting married.

Herb and Antoinette Cobelli, of Yonkers, NY, were married Feb. 11, 1962. They made their first home at Otis AFB Cape Cod, MA, where they had a son -- Vernon Joseph -- in Nov. 1962, and a daughter -- Kathy Jo -- in April 1965. There, he was part of the 19th Air Refueling Squadron.They were later stationed at Travis AFB, CA for his final tour with MAC, where he flew C-141s. After 33 missions into Vietnam, and more than 20 years of service, Herb retired in 1968.

With all of his experiences flying over the years, he shared the saying that ‘flying is made up of many hours of boredom interrupted by moments of stark terror!’ He could testify to the full truth in that statement: “One particular incident stands out in my memory, although there were others. While flying at an assigned block altitude, refueling a B-47, I looked up and saw a commercial airliner crossing our flight path about 300 yards in front of us! We all lived to tell the tale, so we know we were being ‘watched over’!”

After the AF, Herb and his family lived in LaGrangeville, NY, where he worked for Celanese America, and later Virginia Chemicals, Inc. When the company relocated to the Dallas area, Herb and family took up residence in Midlothian, TX on July 4, 1976, where they’ve lived ever since.

After retiring from Virginia Chemicals in 1984, Herb and a colleague started the company Fujikoki America, in Dallas, where he worked until officially retiring in 1996. He continued as a consultant, as well, for several years. Herb also was truly gifted to fix or build anything mechanical, automotive or in need of repair, and his passion for envisioning and designing numerous personal and industrial inventions served him and others well, including rain barrel and garden irrigation systems, an attic stairs insulation unit, and an automobile timing light, well before others came out with such devices. Even up until his passing, he was striving to finish work perfecting an automobile device so that, in his words, “not another child or pet would die by being trapped or left in a hot car!” He also was most recently working on one of his beloved hobbies -- to-scale remote-controlled airplanes -- just like the ones he flew in his day. He made a special request of his son, Vernon, to finish them for him, when he no longer could precisely cut and sand the balsa wood or aluminum himself. In the most recent year of distancing and staying home, Herb expressed often, with a twinkle in his baby blue eyes, how much he looked forward to listening with his wife Annette, to Dr. David Jeremiah’s sermon every Sunday! One local event Herb and his family also enjoyed attending every year was the Veteran’s Day Ceremony at the Civic Center in Waxahachie. He got to go to the outdoor ceremony just last month, as well, fully-dressed in his AF blues uniform as did each year!

He was preceded in death by his father Vernon Critser of Irvine CA, mother Irma Crouch Bramley and older brother Glenn Critser, both of CA.

Herb is survived by a family he also adored, who deeply love him forever: wife of 58 yrs

Antoinette and son Vernon Joseph of Midlothian, TX; daughter Kathy Jo & son-in-love Ross Hailey, of N. Richland Hills; granddaughters Tamra Ann Critser of Venus; Monika Hailey Patterson & her husband Trae of Fort Worth; and Emily Hailey Walker & her husband Seth of Fort Worth; older sister Dorthy Garner of Cerritos CA; younger sister Bettye Cantwell of Orange, CA; and many beloved nieces, nephews and extended family members.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to a charity of choice or one of the many organizations that have been dear to Herb and his family: Meals on Wheels of Ellis & Johnson County (mowejc.org); or the Waxahachie Veterans Celebration fund

( http://www.waxahachiecvb.com/events/2020/veterans-day-celebration ).

Service info: https://www.bozemitchellmckibbin.com/

Visitation: 2-4 p.m. in the funeral home chapel Wed., Dec. 23, 2020, Service with full military honors: 9:15 a.m. Sat., Dec. 26, 2020, at Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery.

Arrangements are under the direction of Boze-Mitchell-McKibbin Funeral Home, 511 West Main Street, Waxahachie, Texas.

Posted online on January 04, 2021