John David Bethea, 85 thumbnail

John David Bethea

Died: May 6, 2020

John David Bethea, age, 90 died Wednesday, May 6, 2020 at his home in Hendersonville, NC. He was born to the late Carl B. and May Bevill Bethea in Sturgis, Mississippi on November 26, 1929.

Appointed by Senator John Stennis of Mississippi, Dave began his military career in 1948 at USMA, West Point, NY. He graduated…read more

John David Bethea, age, 90 died Wednesday, May 6, 2020 at his home in Hendersonville, NC. He was born to the late Carl B. and May Bevill Bethea in Sturgis, Mississippi on November 26, 1929.

Appointed by Senator John Stennis of Mississippi, Dave began his military career in 1948 at USMA, West Point, NY. He graduated with his class in 1952 as an infantry Lieutenant. In July, 1952, he married Janet Elise Calhoun in Indianola, MS. His first assignment was to Salzburg, Austria with the 350th Inf. Regiment. Other assignments followed, ROTC Instructor at Denver University; Denver, Colorado; Ft. Campbell, KY; Command & General Staff School, Ft. Leavenworth, KS; USAREUR, Heidelberg, Germany, the Pentagon; and two tours of duty in Vietnam. His first combat assignment was as an advisor to the Chinese ‘Sea Swallow’ Brigade operating under the leadership of the Father Hoa. Calling upon the Advisor experience, Dave participated in the development of a training program for the 101st Airborne Division soon departing for Vietnam. Two years later in November of 1968 he began his second assignment in Vietnam with the 173rd Airborne Brigade. Initially he was the Brigade Executive Officer and later commander of the 3/503rd Battalion until November 1969.

Dave completed his career as a Colonel at the Army Training Doctrine & Command, Fort Monroe, 1974. Settling his family in Hendersonville, NC, Dave joined the staff at Blue Ridge Tech (now Blue Ridge Community College) as Director of Evening Studies. Later he became the director of student services. After 9 years at Blue Ridge, he and Janet later joined the Peace Corps (87-89) where he taught mechanical drawing and woodworking at Madiba SS, Mahalape, Botswana. On returning home, he became an active member of the Kiwanis Club and the Literacy Council. Again in 1997, they signed on with the Peace Corps in St. Lucia, West Indies, where he organized the Junior Achievement Program. They returned to the quiet enjoyment of Hendersonville and family. Surviving a series of strokes, Dave had to surrender his active lifestyle to one primarily of reading and remembering. We will spend the rest of our lives remembering and missing him.

He is survived by his wife of 67 years, Janet Calhoun Bethea; a sister, Frances Bethea Dent of Raymond, Mississippi; four sons: Keith and his wife Sonia, Carl, Paul and his wife Lisa, Tim and his wife Carla; six grandchildren; four great-grandchildren and several nieces and nephews.
An online register book is available for family and friends by visiting www.thosshepherd.com. Thos. Shepherd & Son Funeral Directors and Cremation Memorial Center is in charge of the arrangements.

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