Thursday, March 6, 2014

R.I.P. - Don Pardue Jr., 68: Vietnam Veteran and Dunwoody Urban Redevelopment Board Member

I do not believe I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Pardue but I know he served on the Dunwoody Urban Redevelopment Agency with Former Mayor Ken Wright and by reading his obituary I know he served his country with distinction.  The memorial service is scheduled for Saturday.
Don Pardue was determined to memorialize as many Vietnam veterans as he could. An Army veteran himself, it didn’t matter what branch of the military. Pardue believed all service should be recognized.

“Every memorial he did was like the only memorial he did,” said Tracy Pardue Brener of Charlotte, N.C., one of his two daughters. “He put his all into each one.”
Pardue was known among his Vietnam buddies as the Air Marshal because he was the guy who arranged flyovers, said Wayne O. Witter, a friend and fellow veteran.

“He worked closely with the 92nd Air Wing over at Dobbins (Air Reserve Base in Marietta),” Witter said. “And he could time those things just right. He could coordinate down to the second. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s helping God time the flights of the angels,” Witter added with a laugh.
Donald Bryant Pardue Jr. of Dunwoody died Sunday from complications of pancreatic cancer. He was 68.

A funeral is planned for 11 a.m. Saturday at Dunwoody United Methodist Church, followed by burial with military honors at Arlington Memorial Park.

Pardue was drafted in 1967 while taking time off from college to earn money to pay his tuition. He was accepted to officers’ school and landed in Vietnam in July 1968 as a lieutenant. Two months later he was severely wounded, shot in the chest, and within weeks was shipped home with a bullet in his lung for life.  He returned home, married and earned a degree at Georgia State University. Don and Cindy Pardue married in 1970 and raised two daughters together while he established himself as a real estate appraiser and became a successful businessman.

Pardue also co-founded a group that would help change the image of Vietnam veterans. In a 2000 interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Pardue said returning veterans were scorned and unappreciated.  “It was very sad, depressing and disappointing for sure,” he said at the time. “But I think that’s changing.”  The change included the formation of the Atlanta Vietnam Veterans Business Association, which was established on Veteran’s Day in 1981. It started with a group of friends who gathered to toast their fallen comrades, but it turned into an organization with more than 250 members.   Witter said Pardue took immense pride in helping with the memorials. The group has established a number of memorials for native Atlantans who fought and died in Vietnam.
“He had a very intense need to make sure people’s stories were told,” Brener said of her father.

 In addition to his wife and daughter, Pardue is also survived by another daughter, Stephanie Pardue of Atlanta; a brother, Bill Pardue of Marietta; and one grandson.


Steve Barton said...

I have seen plaques commemorating heroes from the Atlanta Vietnam Veterans Association. I believe the one overlooking the lake at Concourse is one of theirs. RIP Don Pardue.

Steve Barton said...

Correction: Atl Viet Vet Business Assoc.