Jackie “Jack” Leon Wiles, 84, of Amarillo, TX passed away on January 8, 2023.
Memorial services will be at 3:00 P.M., Friday, January 13, 2023, at First Presbyterian Church with Rev. Dr. Murray Gossett officiating. Arrangements are by Boxwell Brothers Funeral Directors, Amarillo.
Born in Cleveland, Oklahoma, on October 1, 1938, Jack was the first grandchild in two large families and always a much-loved son. From his elders, he learned early to follow Jesus. A leader in his high school at Levelland, he moved on to play football at Texas Tech University when it was still in the Southwest Conference. At Tech he joined the ROTC, earned his BS in Biology and private pilot’s license, and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Air Force. While at Tech, he met Patricia Wade and they married in April of 1963.
After pilot training at Laughlin AFB, Del Rio, Tx, Jack’s first assignment was at Travis AFB, Fairfield, CA. Jack excelled in piloting the C-130 and C-141, flying supplies into Viet Nam, Embassy runs around the globe as well as flying the wounded home when the C-141 was outfitted as a hospital.
Jack’s next assignment was at Kirtland AFB in Albuquerque, NM. There Jack flew the highly specialized strategic reconnaissance RB-57F aircraft. These aircraft were modified for high-altitude, long-range intelligence gathering. Part of his duties included high-altitude atmospheric sampling and radiation detection work in support of nuclear test monitoring. Many of these classified missions were flown above 60,000 feet, with these stratonauts in full pressure gear such as those used by NASA.
After the Air Force, Jack and his family moved to the Dallas area where for three years Jack supervised the building of the Shrike Missile at Texas Instruments. Later the family moved to Houston and Jack began a thirty-year career with the AT&SF Railroad. He also worked with the Central Kansas Railroad and Chicago Rail Link before retiring. Jack had an expert touch with big engines. He moved easily into supervisory roles for rail engineers and operations.
Jack was a generous, funny, reflective, amiable, empathetic, fair, smart, curious. He was physically and mentally strong, handsome, honest, trusting, principled, and thoughtful man. He loved studying scripture, and is well-described by Psalm 23 verse 7 which says, “And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Throughout their lives and their many moves, Jack and Pat and their children attended Christian churches. At each one, the family quickly integrated into the congregation and made themselves useful in the Lord’s work. Jack taught Bible classes, participated in church government, sang in choirs, and attended camps and gatherings. He spent his retirement years leading bible studies at First Presbyterian Church, was active in the Amarillo Downtown Kiwanis, volunteered as a Docent at the Panhandle Plains Historical Museum, played tennis, and watched the Red Raiders play football. He was an avid numismatist and a patriot. He was a proud supporter of Second Amendment rights and had just begun a hobby as a reloader.
Jack was preceded in death by his granddaughter, Madeline Grace Wiles, his father, Jack Wiles, and his mother, Geneva McSwane.
He is survived by his wife Patricia, son Brent Wiles and wife Kim of Kerrville, TX; daughter Shannon Pfutzenreuter, and husband Todd of Scottsdale, AZ. His grandchildren include Jose and Brenna Duran-Sanchez Wiles of Lubbock; Jacob, Andrew, and Anna Pfutzenreuter of Scottsdale. He also has two great-granddaughters, Darcy Elisabeth Wiles and Maia Nayru Duran-Sanchez Wiles of Lubbock. The family is grateful to Ussery -Roan Texas State Veterans Home and BSA Hospice who provided attentive, compassionate care to Jack. Some of the caregivers are Veronica Rios, Hortencia, Melissa, Jessica, Amanda, Casey, Jay, and many more.