Colonel William Leroy Holford was born in Topeka, Kansas on March 26, 1943. He was the second of three siblings, brother John F. and sister Betty F. Holford Thompson, of Edward and Elizabeth Stonestreet Holford. His parents preceded him in death.
He attended Holy Name and Hayden High School where he received his Catholic education. The love of music and playing saxophone in band and participating in sports were some of her life activities.
William attended and graduated from Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas in 1966 with a Bachelor of Business Administration. While attending, he pledged Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc., Rho Chapter, of which he was a life member. During that time, he also joined and was commissioned through the Air Force ROTC. After completing his undergraduate studies, he earned a Master of Arts Degree in Management and Supervision from Central Michigan University, Mount Pleasant, Michigan.
He was initially assigned as a weapons controller with the 738th Radar Squadron, Olathe, Naval Air Station, Kansas. Then he was assigned for short touring duty as Operations Officer of the 640th Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron, Stephenville, Newfoundland. This was followed by a four-year tour of duty with the highly mobile 607th Tactical Control Squadron, Luke AFB, Arizona.
In 1972 he volunteered and was selected for flying duty with the 7th Airborne Battlefield Command and Control Center Squadron, Korat AB, Thailand. While there he flew 95 combat missions, logged over 1100 flight hours and participated in Linebacker I and II, two major US air interdiction campaigns. He completed this tour as a squadron standardisation/evaluation officer.
Colonel Holford served briefly with the 609th Tactical Control Squadron, Cannon AFB, New Mexico, then was selected for assignment to the Air Staff, Pentagon Building, Washington DC. Ground tactical air control systems.
In 1978 he attended the Air Command and Staff College at Maxwell AFB, Alabama, graduating in 1979. After school he held positions as Chief, Command and Control Systems, Interoperability Division, Pacific Air Command Headquarters, Hickam AFB, Hawaii.
Colonel Holford served with the 963rd Airborne Warning and Control Squadron as mission crew commander and mission operations deputy. He served on staff as Chief, Requirements Division E-3 / EC-135 in the Operations and Requirements Directorate, 28th Air Division, Tinker AFB, Oklahoma City, Okla. In this service he performed missions and duties in Iceland and Saudi Arabia.
His last three major leadership appointments came when he was selected to command the 325th Weapons Controller Training Squadron, Tyndall AFB, Panama City, Florida. Then joint assignments with NATO, Naples, Italy and USCINCPAC Headquarters-Joint Service Command- Camp Smith, Honolulu, Hawaii.
Among the many military decorations are the Legion of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal with 4 oak leaf clusters, the Air Medal with 3 oak leaf clusters, the Air Force Commendation Medal with 1 oak leaf cluster, and the Distinguished Presidential Unit Citation
In 1993, William along with his family made Henderson, Nevada their home. His wife Dorothy, an educator, taught in the Clark County School District. William attended UNLV and earned his Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy and became a Las Vegas community therapist and counselor. The family joined the St. Thomas More Catholic community thirty years ago and remain affiliates to this day.
Oh how he loved working out any sport, camping trips, hikes, travel, any on-the-go activity.
William is survived by the love of his life Dorothy Frank Townsend of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma sharing 40 years of marriage. He is also survived by four children, Monica DH Jones, Jason C., Krystle EAH (Jermaine) Johnson, and Kimberly SF. Seven grandchildren: Brigetta, Amber, Heaven, Hannah, and Hayden, and two great-grandchildren: Alijah and Adriana. He was the host of close relatives and countless friends throughout his life.
William’s family would like to express special appreciation to the doctors, nurses, caregivers and staff at the Southern Nevada State Veterans Home who have always gone the extra mile and we have been abundantly blessed with loving kindness. We are eternally grateful.
“Rather than mourn the absence of the flame, let’s celebrate how bright it burned.” ___Unknown
Published online February 19, 2023
Published in Topeka Capital Journal