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Joe Ecrette Sr. '52 August 5, 2019 2:39 PM updated: August 5, 2019 2:44 PM

Published in (San Antonio) Express-News on Aug. 4, 2019

Joe Dudley Ecrette
November 7, 1929 - June 24, 2019
Joe Dudley Ecrette, 89, passed away peacefully on June 24, 2019. He was blessed to be surrounded by his four children in his San Antonio home. Joe was a retired Lt. Colonel in the US Army and a Fighting Texas Aggie - Class of 1952. Joe's last days were filled with love and laughter even through his struggle with cancer the last 4 months of his life. Joe was married to his high school sweetheart and love of his life, Wanda Shafer Ecrette, for 67 years. We lost Wanda last January and Joe's days were never the same without her. Though he enjoyed cele- brating his growing family, his heart was always with his bride. He rests now in the arms of our Lord, next to the only woman he loved. He is truly at peace.

Joe was an only child born in Dallas, TX to Joe Curtis Ecrette and Alma Stratton Ecrette. Growing up, Joe was known as "Lil Joe" by his friends, as well as the many newspaper articles written of his athletic accomplishments. Joe learned to box at the S.A. Boys Club and won several Golden Glove competitions. In high school he was a skilled 2nd baseman in baseball and quarterback/running back in football at Breckenridge High School. He was proud to have been a part of their 1947 State Championship.

Joe was accepted to Texas A&M in 1948 on a football scholarship. After a football injury, Joe was offered a chance to play baseball. Joe excelled at playing 2nd base for 3 years, batting 300+ and lead the SWC in triples. Joe was a member of a scrappy band of Aggie baseball players who stunned the blue bloods of college baseball and made it all the way to the 1951 College World Series!

In 1952, Joe graduated from Texas A&M and began his commission in the US Army. Just as he started, he was assigned to the Quartermaster Corp in Anchorage, Alaska. He was then given the opportunity to join the Army Air Corp where he began his distinguished aviation career. This exciting new career allowed him to log over 3,600 hours of flight time in over 18 different fixed wing aircraft and helicopters. Each time Joe needed qualification in a different aircraft, the growing Ecrette family would pack up the household and move to his next assignment. That meant 42 household moves in 14 years with 4 Army brats in tow.

Joe's skill as a pilot opened many doors for leadership and as a test pilot. Notably, Joe was one of the first test pilots for the CH54 "Flying Crane" and was the first company commander for this remarkable helicopter. After returning from a tour in South Korea, Vietnam cranked up and Captain Joe D. Ecrette shipped out in 1966. Joe flew "Hueys" on 26 helicopter combat missions as part of the First Calvary in Vietnam and was awarded the Air Medal for heroism while in combat. His other awards include the Senior Army Aviation Badge, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, National Defense Service Medal with first Oak Leaf Cluster and Helicopter Rescue Award.

In 1967, Joe returned to his family in San Antonio where he would be stationed until his retirement in 1971 as Com- mander of the 5th Army Flight Detachment. After 21 years of service, he was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal for outstanding service achievement upon his retirement. "Lil Joe", now known as "The Colonel", was a skilled taskmaster and problem solver for the US Army. These leadership skills continued to be applied (and challenged) at home while setting a solid course of expectations and guidance for each of his children. He had the biggest heart, the best hugs and was an amazing father. He safely guided his children through some of their crazy years with all moving on to succeed at Texas A&M University. So, with pride, the Ecrette/Aggie legacy continues.

Joe and Wanda lived long, full and successful lives filled with love, many friends and lots of travel. Together, they had an extended family of many who considered them as second parents and mentors who referred to him lovingly as "Papa Joe".
"Lil Joe", "The Colonel" and "Papa Joe" will surely be missed. But his spirit, laughter and leadership lives on with his family and friends forever. Another "12th Man" joins the ranks of Angels in Heaven. We are all so blessed that God chose him to be our father and proud of how he has touched the world.

Joe D. Ecrette is survived by his 4 children. Joe D. Ecrette, Jr. ('74) and wife Yoli, Debra Ecrette Trimmier and husband Tim Trimmier ('74), James Ecrette ('79) and wife Jana, Cynthia Ecrette Guillory ('80), 8 awesome grandchildren, 4 incredible great-grandchildren and his brother-in-law Dwight Shafer and wife Helena.

A Celebration of Life service will be held on Saturday, August 17, 2019 at 2:00 PM at the Fellowship of San Antonio, 23775 Canyon Golf Road, San Antonio, TX, 78258. In lieu of flowers, please send a gift to The San Antonio A&M Club.

A special thanks to our sister, Debra Trimmier and her husband Tim who were the primary caregivers for Joe and Wanda during their last years with us. There is no way to measure, let alone thank them, for their sacrifice in mind, body, spirit and time for their selfless giving. Love for ones parents is a force of nature.

Our sincere thanks to the professional caregivers from Encompass Hospice who provided remarkable kindness, service and education to our family during dad's hospice care at home.


CELEBRATION OF LIFE
Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019
2:00 PM
Fellowship of San Antonio
23775 Canyon Golf Road
San Antonio, TX


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