Leroy Vance Hester

leroy hester

Leroy Vance Hester


Retired Lieutenant Colonel Leroy Vance Hester passed away peacefully in his home the morning of August 3rd, 2015, in Stillwater, Oklahoma. He was 92.

Born October 27th, 1922 in Wickes, Arkansas, he was the second child, and only son, of Nellie Vance and Thomas Leroy Hester. Vance was preceded in death by his sister, Edna Hester Burch, and his son, John Richard Hester.

Vance graduated high school at the age of 16. He then earned his degree in petroleum engineering from the University of Oklahoma. He joined the Army and served as a Field Artillery Pilot in World War II. He served in England and Germany and flew officers to the Nuremberg Trials. He also flew during the Battle of the Bulge. After serving in World War II, Vance was called back to active duty as an Aviation Advisor during the Korean War. He served 7 years active duty in the U.S. Army and was on reserve duty for 18 years.

He married Billie Sue Broaddus in 1958 and started his own petroleum engineering consulting business in Denver, Colorado. He made Denver his home for some 40 years. Sue passed away in 1987; they were married 29 years. He later married Doris Jean Stoner, his 7th grade sweetheart, and they lived together in Cleveland, then Stillwater, Oklahoma. Doris passed away in 2013; they were married 16 years.

As an accomplished pilot, Vance loved planes and enjoyed flying his Stinson L-5, who he referred to as “Pug”. He flew Pug during the war and his plane is on display at an aircraft museum in the U.S. Vance was recognized as one of the original 50 Army Aviation Branch Pilots in 2010. He was a member of the Army Association of America, Experimental Aircraft Association, and Rocky Mountain Railroad Club. His favorite hobby was riding on steam locomotives. He even got the chance to drive a steam engine in Ely, Nevada.

Vance is survived by his granddaughter, Brandi Mae Hester, of Denver, Colorado; niece, Doris Lynn Futty, of Dallas, Texas; cousin, Janice Vance Haggard, of Stillwater, Oklahoma, and several other cousins.

Vance’s unwavering love for and faith in God during his later years was an inspiration to many and had a particularly strong impact on his granddaughter. He gave so much and asked so little.

Graveside service with full military honors provided by the U.S. Army will be held at Fort Logan National Cemetery on Tuesday, August 18th, 2015 at 9:45 a.m.


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  1. I had the privilege of getting to know Vance pretty well in the last 6 years of his life as I am married to his cousin, Janice Vance Haggard, and frequently looked in on him at Golden Oaks.  He kept his great memory pretty well to the very end of his life.  He was able to recall events of past years on just about any day that you happened to be talking with him.  He bought an I-Pad after he lost Doris in 2013, and learned to use it well enough to send and receive emails to and from his friends and relatives.  He loved to get emails of exciting topics like airplanes and trains.

  2. I personally knew Vance as a very good person.  His love for his granddaughter was overwhelming as was Brandi's love and admiration for him.  He will be forever missed by all who knew him.

  3. I grew up next door to Vance and Sue. I mowed his yard and shoveled his walks. He gave me the correct advice when I was working on cars. I knew he was a pilot in WWII, loved to fly and had his own business in downtown Denver. But I didn't know he was an aviation advisor during the Korean war. With all of his accomplishments Vance was a humble man. Being from the greatest generation Vance certainly lived up to that. I will always remember Vance's greeting "How in the world are you?". It was always a pleasure to talk with Vance. Rest in Peace Vance.

  4. I knew Vance when he came across to visit our house in the UK which is where he stayed for a while during WW2. Vance became a good friend, and when we visited Denver he was great to stay with and we saw parts of Colorado that we would have never seen. My daughters (Kate and Hannah) and then wife (Ruth) kept in contact with Vance and I visited him when I was working in the US. Vance was a true gent and always willing to help others.

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