NORMAN — Cmdr. Thomas J. Bedford, (USN Ret.), age 94, died March 7, 2013, at the Norman Veterans Home in Norman.
Cmdr. Bedford married Lucile Walden of Opelika, Ala., in February 1943 while home on leave from the Pacific Fleet. He served in the U.S. Navy for 24 years. After attending Auburn University, he was commissioned at the U.S. Naval Academy in 1941. Assigned to Submarine Forces Pacific Fleet, Cmdr. Bedford was at Cavite Naval Base, Philippines, when the Japanese attacked on Dec. 7, 1941. His submarine, USS Skipjack, was famous for surviving after having been reported sunk by the Japanese Navy.
Cmdr. Bedford was a veteran of WWII, the Korean War and the Lebanese Action ordered by President Eisenhower. Awards include the Bronze Star with Valor, Army Distinguished Unit Citation, Naval Reserve Medal one “star,” Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal 11 “stars,” the WWII Victory Medal, Navy Occupation Service Medal, Korean Service Medal one “star,” National Defense Service Medal, United Nations Service Medal, Philippine Independence Ribbon, Philippine Presidential Unit Citation and the Korean Presidential Unit Citation.
During his career, Cmdr. Bedford served in Oklahoma City from 1957 to 1961 as commanding officer, Naval Reserve Training Centers for the State of Oklahoma. He and his wife were members of Village Methodist Church.
After retiring in 1964, Cmdr. Bedford moved to Atlanta, where he managed Lenox Towers office buildings for 12 years. Retiring again, he and Lucile moved to Pensacola, Fla., in 1976 and lived there for 26 years. In 2001, he and Lucile moved to Norman to be near their youngest son, John.
Cmdr. Bedford was a member of the Military Officers Association of America, Submarine Veterans of WWII, Asiatic Fleet Survivors Association, General Society of Mayflower Descendants (he was governor of the Edward Winslow Colony), Auburn University Alumni Association and Disabled American Veterans.
Survivors include his wife, Lucile, and two sons, T. Jackson Bedford Jr., a Superior Court judge in Atlanta, and his wife Patty and John R. Bedford, dean of the School of American Dance and Arts Management at Oklahoma City University, and his wife Jo Rowan.
Burial will be at Ft. Barrancas National Cemetery in Pensacola, Fla. in late spring.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the General Society of Mayflower Descendants, Plymouth, MA 02361-3297, Disabled American Veterans, P.O. Box 14301, Cincinnati, OH 45250-0301, or a charity of choice.
The family has entrusted Cmdr. Bedford’s service to Primrose Funeral Service.
For online condolences, visit primrosefuneralservice.com.
Norman Transcript, Wednesday, March 20, 2013