Vardeman, Frank

VARDEMAN, Jr., Frank Burton Frank Burton Vardeman, Jr., 95, passed away peacefully at home in Wesley Woods Towers in Atlanta on September 13, 2020 with his beloved wife, Martha, by his side. Burt was born in Columbus, GA on February 2, 1925, the eldest of 4 sons, to Lucile Blau & Frank Burton Vardeman, Sr. Besides his parents, Burt is predeceased by 2 of his brothers, Robert Edwin & William George Vardeman. A native of Covington, GA, Burt was drafted into the US Army Air Forces in 1943. During WWII, he served as a Flight Radio Operator on B-24 Liberator bombers with the 15th Air Force, surviving 31 combat missions over Nazi-occupied Europe. Burt's Bomb Group was frequently escorted by the Tuskegee Airmen. "I owe my life to the Red Tails," Burt said. Burt attended Auburn University through the GI Bill. There he met his "Sweetie Pie", Martha Frances Hay, and they married in 1948. In 1949 he graduated with a B.S. in Building Construction. Martha's father was called by the Presbyterian Church to serve as president of Stillman College, a historically black college in Tuscaloosa, AL. After graduation, Burt & Martha joined him at Stillman where Burt served as Business and Property Manager for 16 years against the backdrop of the Civil Rights Movement. Burt oversaw the construction and management of 10 major buildings, which contributed to Stillman's accreditation as a four-year college. Burt considered this his greatest professional accomplishment. During this time in Tuscaloosa Burt & Martha were busy rearing their 4 children, Frances, Frank, Cile, & Marty. Burt and family moved to Atlanta in 1965 where he oversaw the building and administration of the Presbyterian Church (US) headquarters. Burt continued in the field of property management until his retirement in 1989. Burt gave his time and talents to Kiwanis, BOMA, North Decatur Presbyterian Church, and the larger Presbyterian Church (PCUSA). He took on leadership roles and served on numerous committees in each organization. Burt genuinely liked and respected all people, wanting all to feel welcome. He was often at the door to offer a warm greeting at gatherings. He was known for his smile and bowties, which he took pride in tying himself, even on his 95th birthday. In retirement, Burt shared his WWII experience and deep gratitude for the heroism of the Tuskegee Airmen through multiple interviews and speaking engagements. On behalf of his Bomber Group he donated paintings of the "Red Tails" in action to the Tuskegee Airmen Museum (AL) in 2010. He was made an Honorary Tuskegee Airman. Burt became a ham radio operator after the War and enjoyed it into his 90s, leading the Country Cousins in nightly prayer. He enjoyed golf and fishing, but he most enjoyed spending time with his family. Burt and Martha built their family on a foundation of love and support; their strong marriage an inspiration for us all. From holidays and family reunions to birthdays, their home was a place of gathering and celebration. They started a tradition of an annual family beach trip in the 1950s, which continues today with the next generations. Burt is survived by his wife of 72 years; his 4 children: Frances Hay Carruthers, Rev. Frank Burton Vardeman, III (Heidi), Cile Clarke Vardeman & Marty Hay Tomlinson (Scott); his 9 grandchildren: Courtenay, Meredith, Dalton (Brandon Hunt), and Kennedy (Mark Embree) Carruthers; Ann (Seth Hahn) & Jane (Andy Shannon) Vardeman; Martha Scott, Sarah Frances & Spencer Tomlinson; his 7 great-grandchildren: Miriam & Jakob Hahn; Gibson & Reeves Hunt; Marlowe & Alden Embree; & Aaron Shannon; his brother John Roscoe Vardeman (Peggy); and many dear nieces and nephews. The family plans a celebration of Burt's life at a later time. Information about memorial service will be available at ndpc.org/memorial. Gifts may be made to North Decatur Pres. Church, 611 Medlock Rd, Decatur GA, 30033 or The Kiwanis Foundation of Atlanta, PO Box 14104, Atlanta, GA 30324. He would also want you to vote this November.