On September 18, 2020, Richard Burt Taber USMC Colonel (retired), age 90, passed away peacefully at home near Pittsboro, North Carolina after a brief illness. Richard was born in Oneonta,New York on September 30,1929, son of Ralph S.Taber and Carroll Burt Taber. He grew up in Davenport, NY where he spent many long days working in his father’s general store. He graduated from Colgate University in 1950 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Natural Science.He later obtained a Master’s Degree from the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University. He married his best friend and high school sweetheart, Virginia (Ginny) MacCracken in October 1950.
Richard left small town life in upstate New York to join the Marine Corps during the Korean Conflict. He was commissioned as an officer and served with distinction for 30 years. He served in Korea; Vietnam; Rome; Ismir,Turkey; Iwakuni, Japan; and served stateside in Texas, California, Rhode Island, North Carolina, Alabama, and Washington, D.C. During his long career he served in a variety of billets. He was a Communications Officer with the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing in Korea. After returning to the States, he attended Flight School in Pensacola, Florida and became a Naval Aviator. He was squadron commander of VMA-311, The Tomcats, a fighter and attack squadron,during the Vietnam War from 1967-1968. He was an instructor at the Naval War College and later the Air War College. He was Chief of Staff of the 1stMarine Aircraft Wing at Iwakuni and later Chief of Staff of the Marine Corps Air Station at Cherry Point. His decorations and medals include the Distinguished Flying Cross for heroic actions in Vietnam, the Legion of Merit with Combat V, Air Medal(14thAward), Navy Commendation Medal with Combat V, Presidential Unit Citation, Navy Unit Commendation, National Defense Service Medal with 1 Star, Korean Service Medal with 2 stars, Vietnam Service Medal with 3 Stars, United Nations Service Medal, Korean Presidential Unit Citation,and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.
After retirement he and Ginny made Pamlico County, North Carolina, their home and joined First Presbyterian of New Bern where they worshiped together until Ginny’s passing in 1997. She and Richard had been married for 47 years. Richard enjoyed being near the coast, hunting and fishing until Hurricane Florence persuaded him to make the move inland to be near his youngest surviving son, Jeffrey Taber and his wife Kayley Hattler Taber of Pittsboro. The Twin Rivers Senior Living family made the “Colonel” feel at home and he especially enjoyed the friendship of the staff.
He is survived by his sons Richard B. Taber, Jr., and wife Susan; and Jeffrey Scott Taber and wife Kayley Hattler Taber; granddaughters, Danielle Taber Culham and Caitlin Taber Surber; and three great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his middle son, David Salton Taber (father of his two grandchildren) and his loving wife, Virginia (Ginny) Taber.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to your local VFW in honor of those who have served our country in conflicts overseas.
The family will hold a visitation at Donaldson Funeral Home in Pittsboro on September 20, 2020 between 4pm and 6pm. Covid-19 precautions will be observed. A graveside service for family and close friends will be held at Greenleaf Memorial Park in New Bern, North Carolina on September 21, 2020 at 2pm.
Full military honors will be provided with the assistance of MCAS Cherry Point.
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