William Edward LindemanSeptember 18, 1930 ~ August 27, 2019 (age 88)
William Edward Lindeman died August 27th, 2019. He was 88. An admired longtime resident of Neal Ranch in Colorado Springs, he spent his final years at the Palisades at Broadmoor Park. He joins Marilyn, his wife of nearly 67 years, who died in June. His Funeral Mass at St Paul’s at the Broadmoor will be held at 11:00 AM on Saturday, October 12th, 2019. A Rosary will begin at 10:45 prior to the service.
Brigadier General Lindeman was born in 1930 in Cincinnati, Ohio to William Albert and Lucille Branch Lindeman. He was educated at St Francis de Sales primary school and by the Brothers of the Society of Mary at Purcell High, where he was a Latin School student. He met the love of his life, Marilyn Margaret Niehaus, at age 15. He left his National Guard unit as well as the University of Cincinnati to join the Air Force so that he could marry Marilyn. He was selected for pilot training and commissioned in 1952. As an aviation cadet he brought his bride and belongings to Bryan Air Force Base, TX, winning his wings in 1954, just after their first daughter, Susan, arrived.
Bill’s first squadron was the 317th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron at McChord Air Force Base in Tacoma, Washington, where two sons were born, Mark and Mitchell. It was at this point where Bill learned to fly expertly in zero visibility.
In 1957 the 317th FIS was named the Air Force’s Best Fighter Squadron, by winning the 1956 Hughes Trophy. Bill and Marilyn moved with the squadron to Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, where he and Marilyn thrived raising their little kids on all the adventures unique to the arctic: a Sears swimming pool in the basement filled with neighborhood kids, moose-sightings, snowmen, northern lights, snow ice-cream, ice skating, frozen picnics. Their second daughter, Christie, joined the family there.
In 1960, Bill transferred to the 95th FIS at Andrews Air Force Base, MD., as the Flight Test Maintenance Officer, then assuming the maintenance control lead for the squadron when they transferred to Dover Air Force Base, DE. The kids, now with addition of a third daughter, Cynthia, loved this assignment: summers at Lewes Beach allowed the luxury of freedom, sea, sand, unlimited food and fun. While assigned at Dover, Bill completed his baccalaureate degree in Military Science at the University of Maryland in the Operation Bootstrap program. He then was assigned as Air Defense Command Operational Readiness Inspection Planning Chief, at Ent Air Force Base, Colorado Springs, Colo.
In November 1968, Bill began service in the Vietnam war, assigned to Udorn Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand, as Chief of Quality Control for the 432d Tactical Reconnaissance/Fighter Wing. On November 24th,1968, the right leading edge and outboard wing were shot off the RF-4 he was piloting on a top secret photoreconnaissance mission, and the fuselage also sustained damage. Then-Major Lindeman flew back to base and landed the crippled craft without incident, saving the airplane, the RIO and himself, for which he earned the Distinguished Flying Cross.
Bill returned from Southeast Asia late in 1969, and was assigned to NORAD headquarters as Chief of the Fighter-Interceptor Branch. 1972 saw two assignments in rapid progression, first as Chief of Maintenance for the 460th FIS at Grand Forks, ND. The 460th won the William Tell after Bill took over Maintenance Chief. He then assumed Director of Logistics, 26th Air division at Luke AFB, Phoenix, AZ. These rapid-change moves were none too popular with the one pre-teen and four teenagers in the house, but Marilyn’s spirit of adventure and Bill’s deep professional dedication provided a lasting example of mission before self.
Then-Colonel Lindeman served as Vice Commander, 25th Air Division, McChord Air Force Base, WA, for two years, when he was selected as Commander, Air Forces Iceland, Keflavik. This was the second-most memorable destination for the family, as it served as a wonderful place to make international friends. For Bill, it was the job of a lifetime, as there were four Command functions in this one role, and he loved the people, the work, and the mission.
Bill then assumed the Chief of Staff role at Headquarters NORAD/ADCOM in 1977, and in 1978 was promoted to Brigadier General, becoming Vice Deputy Chief of Staff, Plans and Programs (J-5), for the North American Air Defense Command as well as Aerospace. He recalled presenting NAVSTAR to the Joint Chiefs at the Pentagon in 1981, and the issues around getting it through Congress: this would become the Global Positioning System.
A command pilot with more than 3,900 total flying hours, General Lindeman flew the F-4, F-86, F-102, F-106, T-33, T-39, and RF-4. He logged 152 combat missions in Southeast Asia, flying the RF-4. His military decorations and awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Air Medal with seven oak leaf clusters, Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Air Force Commendation Medal, and the Combat Readiness Medal.
But it was after his military career where Bill more deeply discovered service as a way of life. Following retirement to Litchfield Park, AZ and then return to Colorado Springs where so many friends and events called, he consulted for Hughes Aircraft, joined trusted partners at United Bank, and even tried a real estate career. A devout lifelong Catholic, Bill never missed Mass. On religious retreat, he heard the instruction, “Feed my lambs.”
Thus began a mission that Bill dearly loved: seventeen years as the Soup Man, at Marian House, serving along with a large crew of like-minded workers, home-made soup to the homeless. Every visiting grandchild was welcome to rise at 4 o’clock for the 5 AM showtime at the Soup Kitchen. This work strengthened Bill’s spiritual and lived commitment to the Church and won him many friends. In the very last days of his life, it was his partners at Marian House who caused him to reach out his hands and laugh as they entered the room.
Bill died quietly and peacefully, surrounded by his children. He had expressed to his friends in the Palisades Men’s Bible Study that he missed Marilyn greatly, and longed to join her. His patient, tender and selfless devotion to Marilyn’s care and wellbeing as she declined and her memory failed serves as an enduring example of faithful marriage in sickness and in health for his children and grandchildren.
He leaves his daughter Suzanne Lindeman Collins, of Atlanta, GA; sons Mark William Lindeman and his wife Mary Ann, of Monument, CO and the Rev. Mitchell James Lindeman and his wife the Rev. Eileen Lindeman, of Westerly, RI; daughter Christie Lindeman Luna and her husband Angel, of Bremerton, WA; and daughter Cynthia Lindeman Vestuti and her husband, Ricardo, of Providence, RI.
Bill and Marilyn had 14 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren, with a 6th on the way.
His funeral at St Paul’s Catholic Church, 9 El Pomar Road, Colorado Springs, Co, will begin with a Rosary at 10:15 AM on October 12th, 2019. The funeral Mass will follow at 11:00 AM, with a reception in the Julie Penrose Room. The inurnment with military honors, which will be attended by family members, will take place following the funeral, at St Mary’s Cathedral.
Throughout his life, Bill used one title to identify his professional job description on any form or application for any purpose: ‘Fighter Pilot.’
Today William Edward Lindeman’s spirit is in the stars, among the great cloud of witnesses, at home with Marilyn and the Shepherd of Souls.
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