Wofford, Kenneth O. USAF Colonel (ret) Original Tuskegee Airman - USAF Colonel (ret) Kenneth O. Wofford of Golden Valley, Minnesota - passed away on Sunday, September 5, 2010 at the age of 87. He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Willetta Mae (Brinker) Wofford and his son Kenneth O. Wofford, Jr. (Patrice) of New York; and two granddaughters, Christina Wofford Gaines of New York and Angela Wofford of Virginia. In addition, he is survived by 4 great-grandchildren. Kenneth was preceded in death by his parents Clarence and "Queenie" Wofford and his brothers Chester, Arthur and Clarence, Jr. Kenneth was born on November 22, 1922, in Wagoner, Oklahoma. At age 5, his parents moved to Carthage, Missouri, where he met his future wife, Willetta (also age 5 at the time). Kenneth earned his flight wings at Moton Field, Alabama, in 1945 and in the course of a 32 year U.S. Air Force
career, flew numerous types of aircraft as part of his more than 9000 hours of flight in single and multi- engine aircraft. During his service, he served with Tactical Air Command, Air Defense Command, Military Airlift Command, United States Air Force Europe (twice), Pacific Air Command and Air University. He had periods of duty in Joint-Service capacities with the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and NATO (National Atlantic Treaty Organization). In addition to many awards and recognitions Kenneth received during his Air Force career, he was inducted into the Minnesota Aviation Hall of Fame in 1999 and was honored as an Elder Statesman of Aviation by the National Aeronautic Association in 2001. In 2007, he was present in the US Capital Rotunda when the Tuskegee Airmen were honored with a Congressional Gold Medal by the President of the United States. Upon retirement from the military, he headed the Minnesota Department of Transportation's Aeronautics Office for ten years, where he was recognized as a superb manager. After retirement from the Minnesota Department of Transportation, he embarked on his "third career" as a volunteer in numerous community organizations, of which the VA Hospital and Servicemen's Center are only two. Mentoring and educating youth brought him the most satisfaction. He was actively speaking, both in schools at all levels and with several veterans' groups, up until shortly before his passing. He educated these groups about the challenges the Tuskegee Airmen faced as well as their achievements. He encouraged youth to consider the Aviation/Aerospace Industry as a career. He emphasized the importance of education and preparedness in order to take advantage of emerging opportunities. He was also very passionate about, and fully participated in, the Commemorative Air Force and the Red Tail Project. Finally, he lived and espoused the motto of the Tuskegee Airmen - "Aim High"; and served as the ultimate role model for the youth he counseled and mentored. Gifts in his memory may be made to: Red Tail Project, 182 West Division Street, River Falls, WI 54022 or Tuskegee Airmen, Inc., PO Box 830060, Tuskegee, AL 36083 or Youth Initiative Mentoring Academy, Yima.us.com Visitation will be Thursday, Sept. 9 from 6-8 PM at Estes Funeral Home, 2210 Plymouth Ave. N. (Between Penn Ave. N. and Queen Ave. N.) Mpls, MN 55411 (612-521-6744). Celebration of Life Service 10 AM Friday, Sept. 10 at Cornerstone Church, 3420 Nevada Ave. N., Crystal, MN 55427 with visitation 9-10 AM (depart for Ft. Snelling at noon). Interment Fort Snelling National Cemetery, immediately following the Cornerstone service, scheduled for 12:45 PM.