Thomas B. Yester, retired Captain, U.S. Army, passed away peacefully in his home on February 3, 2012 surrounded by his family and his loyal dog Max by his side.
Captain Thomas Yester was born in Branford on December 29, 1922; the son of the late Constant and Yacenta Yester, immigrants from Lithuania. He enlisted in the Army Air force on January 23, 1942. He flew 35 daylight bomber missions with the 456 Bomb Squadron as a tail gunner on a B-26. Later he was assigned to the First Pathfinder Squadron and flew additional 25 night and poor weather missions which were radar guided. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air medal with 9 oak leaf clusters, European Theater Ribbon with 3 battle stars, Presidential Unit Citation, WWII Victory medal, Good Conduct medal, German Occupation, National Defense medal, 15 and 20 years service award, and Secretary of the State Service Award. He enlisted in the Connecticut National Guard as a private after WWII, and was promoted to Second Lieutenant. The unit was called into active duty July 1950 at the outbreak of the Korean War. He attended Fort Knox Officer's Armor School, served in Germany as a platoon tank commander, and was discharged in 1952. He was then assigned to the National Guard as First Lieutenant, attended Fort Eustis Officers Transportation School, and was promoted to Captain.
He was a Post Service Officer in the American Legion since 1980, and a local agent volunteer for the Soldiers/Sailors Marine Fund for 32 years. Tom was awarded Service Officer of the Year. He was appointed to the Veterans Parade Committee in 1967 and served as chairman. He was a volunteer at St. Mary's School for 20+ years, and was inducted into the Knights of the Round Table in 2003. He received a B.S. Degree from Arnold College in 1950.
Thomas Yester retired from the US Postal Service as a mail carrier technician after 33 years of service. Captain Yester took great pride in discussing his service time to students around Connecticut. He also was an avid participant at the Hagaman Memorial Library's WWII Discussion Group, www.hagamanlibrary.info. Captain Yester was one of the first members to join the group.
He leaves one son: Thomas "Gary" (Kitta Ree ) Yester; three daughters: Denise (Frank) Garitta, Patricia (David) Smith, and Kathleen (Kevin Copeland) Costello; ten grandchildren: Thomas E.E. Yester, Christina Kursawe, Daniel and Matthew Garitta, Jason, Jessica, and Justin Smith, Michael Yester, Monique Costello, Kaitlyn Copeland; three great-grandchildren: Paul Beisler, Quinn Kursawe, and Jacob Smith; and close companion and best friend, Max.
He was predeceased by his wife, Jean Perron Yester and his brothers Joseph and Edward.
The family wishes to express their heartfelt thanks to his caregiver Ahmed for his wonderful care, and to the Connecticut Hospice nurses Karen, Christine, Linda, Cheryl, and Otis for their devoted home care.
A memorial wake will be held on Friday February 10, 2012 from 6:00pm until 8:00pm at the W.S. Clancy Memorial Funeral Home, 244 North Main St., Branford, www.wsclancy.com. A funeral mass and celebration of the life of Thomas Yester will be held on Saturday, February 11, 2012 at 11:00am at Saint Therese Church, 105 Leetes Island Rd., Branford. Full military honors will be rendered. Interment will be in Vermont at the convenience of the family.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to American Legion Post 83, 243 North Main St., Branford, and CT Hospice, 100 Double Beach Rd, Branford.