Ret. Colonel Earl Leon Mercer, 88, of Clyde, died Friday at an Abilene hospital. Memorial services will be at 11:00 a.m. Tuesday at the First United Methodist Church in Clyde with Rev. Lou Ellerbrook officiating, under the direction of Bailey-Howard Funeral Home of Clyde. Interment will be at a later date in Augusta, Kansas.

Mr. Mercer was born March 7, 1922, in Augusta, Kansas, to Roy Earl and Mary Fern (Sells) Mercer. He attended schools through high school in Augusta. He married Louise Clemons on November 4, 1946, in El Paso at the Ft. Bliss Army Chapel. They moved to Abilene from Salina, Kansas, in 1965, and to Clyde from Abilene in 1972.

Mr. Mercer was a Colonel in the U.S. Air Force serving as an Intelligence Officer, Navigator, Bombardier and Pilot. He served during World War II, Korea, Vietman and the cold war.

During World War II, he entered the Army Air Corp Basic Training at Sheppard AFB, Texas, in 1942. After graduation, he was assigned to Ft. Logan, Colorado, where he was training aircraft engineers until he was called to Cadet Flight Training in San Antonio in December, 1942. After flight training, he was assigned and flew B-17ís and B-24ís in the South Pacific where he was shot down. Upon his return, he was stationed at Dysersburg, Tennessee, as instructor for B-17 Combat Crew Training for European Missions. After completion, he trained for B-29ís at Kirtland AFB, New Mexico. He then went to Ft. Bliss, Texas, for Guided Missiles and Flack Analysis Project. He flew tow targets and tracked guided missiles in White Sands and anti-aircraft firing ranges. He was discharged from the service in 1946 and returned to Augusta, Kansas.

Mr. Mercer attended the University of Texas at El Paso and after completion returned to Augusta and was employed as a design engineer at Boeing Aircraft Company. In 1951, he was recalled to the U.S. Air Force for the Korean War in the B-29 aircraft and transition to the B-47 bombers. He spent numerous missions on alert in England, Africa, Spain and Iran during the cold war. In 1957, he was assigned for duty in Evereux, France, flying C-119ís and C130ís on special air missions in Germany, France, Italy, Iran, Turkey, Norway, Denmark, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Lebanon, Belgian and Russia. At completion in 1960, he returned to the B-47 aircraft and Atlas Missiles at Shilling AFB, Kansas, until 1965 when he went to Dyess AFB, Texas. He served in Vietnam in C-130 Gun Ships.

After retiring from the Air Force, Mr. Mercer attended McMurry University School of Business. He was employed as the head cashier with Peopleís State Bank in Clyde for ten years until he retired in 1986 when Earl and Louise began traveling in their motor home spending summers in Colorado, winters in Arizona and South Texas, and Septembers in Kansas for school reunions. He built an Avid Airplane in his RV garage that he flew and later donated to the Augusta Flying Museum.

Earl was a 50 year member of the Masonic Lodge, a member of the Suez Shriners of North America, a charter member of the Clyde AARP where he served two years as president, a charter member of the Greater Clyde Kiwanis Club where he served ten years as treasurer, and was a member of the First United Methodist Church of Clyde serving on the administration board as treasurer.

Mr. Mercer is survived by his wife Louise of Clyde; three daughters, Pam Willson and husband Phil of Clyde, Deby Kyle and husband Wayne of Hamilton, and Ann Mercer of Abilene; three grandchildren, Chris Kyle and wife Taya, Andy Orrell and wife Penny, and Jeff Kyle and wife Amy; and four great-grandchildren, Colton Kyle, McKenna Kyle, Morgan Orrell and Tyson Orrell. He was preceded in death by his parents, one grandson Danny Orrell, one brother John F. Mercer, and one sister Wanda Fern Power.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the First United Methodist Church of Clyde, PO Box 465, Clyde, Texas, 79510.

Memorial Services

Tuesday May 25, 2010, 11:00 a.m. at First United Methodist Church