Clarence Boles, Jr. 91, of Waco passed away on June 29, 2020 at Westview Manor Nursing Home in McGregor, Texas after a long illness. The family will hold a private memorial service at St. Jerome Catholic Church on Saturday, July 11th. Following the memorial, Clarence will be interred at the St. Jerome Catholic Church Columbarium.
Clarence was born March 28, 1929 in Keechi, Texas to Berty Ethel Maguiork and Clarence Robert Boles. He graduated from Freeport High School in Freeport, Texas in 1948. Shortly thereafter, he enlisted in the Army in the fall of 1948. A few months later, Clarence transferred to the U.S. Air Force. In 1952 he graduated from PJ (Pararescue) Class 17. During his 27 year career he had several assignments including 76th AARS Hickam AFB, Hawaii, the 55th AARS Eglin AFB, Florida and HQ AARS, Scott AFB, Illinois. He was also stationed at Lajes AFB, Portugal, Prestwick AFB, Scotland, and Moron AFB, Spain, and also served in Alaska, California, Florida, Argentina, and Okinawa.
As a pararescueman, Clarence served in many lifesaving missions. He participated in an overwater rescue mission with the 76th AARS from Hawaii to the Oriental Pearl to evacuate an American civilian who was in a coma. This was the first save with the Jolly Greens from this squadron, and was the longest pararescue mission at that time. It was also the first rescue operation based out of Hawaii that required three air-based refueling exchanges from C130s. Clarence also participated in the Apollo 11 recovery effort, bringing the astronauts safely back to Hickam AFB after their return capsule landed in the Pacific Ocean. Clarence loved his PJ (Pararescue) brothers and served to uphold the PJ creed “That Others May Live” by his bravery, intelligence and selflessness while in harm’s way.
Clarence kept in touch in with those he met during his time in the Air Force, even if he was unable to see them frequently. In 2010 Clarence was reunited after a chance encounter with Navy Lt. Richard Jacobs, who was shot down and became tangled in his parachute in the jungle canopy near the border of Vietnam and Laos in 1968. He flew to rescue the crew and was successful in saving several members.
In addition to serving in Vietnam, he was also was a veteran of the Korean War. He was the recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross with two oak clusters, the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, and the Meritorious Service Medal, as well as many others.
In June of 1975 Clarence retired from the USAF and returned to college to pursue a B.S. in Industrial Distribution at Texas A&M University in College Station. Upon completing his degree in 1979, he worked for Champlin Petroleum, and later moved to Oklahoma City as a foreman for Union Pacific where he worked until his second retirement in 1991. At this time Clarence enjoyed golfing and driving across country in his beloved Honda cars to visit friends and family. He never met a Honda he didn’t love.
Clarence was a 32nd degree Mason and was very proud of his involvement.
Clarence was preceded in death by his parents, Bertie Boles Hiers and Clarence Robert Boles, as well as his first wife Barbara McDonald Salisbury, and his second wife Sandra Spence Boles.
Survivors include his beloved daughters Elizabeth Boles Sander and Brenda Boles Rieger; sons in law Hans Sander and Ronald Rieger, and grandchildren Andrew Sander, Claire Sander, Christopher Rieger and Matthew Rieger.
The family would like to extend a special thank you to Bluebonnet Hospice for providing excellent care during a difficult time and to Dr. Richard Beckendorf of Baylor Scott and White Clinic Temple for his care and support of Clarence over many years.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the PJ Association, pjassociation.com, or PO Box 1746, Woodbridge, VA 22195.
The guest book is offered at www.gracegardensfuneralhome.com where you are welcome to leave your condolences or share a memory about Clarence. He will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved him.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Clarence Robert Boles, Jr., please visit our floral store.