Cover photo for Norman K. Stedman's Obituary

Norman K. Stedman

d. July 10, 2023




Norman “Norm” Stedman passed away on July 10th, 2023 in Katy, TX. He passed peacefully with his family at his side. Norm was born on February 10, 1933 in Glidden, IA. He is survived by his wife of 71 years, Shirley Stedman, his son: Wyatt Stedman and wife Donna, his daughter: Ellen Kauffman and spouse Keith (deceased), his five grandchildren: Joshua Stedman, Amanda (Stedman) Bauer, Robert Stedman, Katie Kauffman and Jennifer Reinhart, his 14 great grandchildren: Wyatt, Gracie, Hannah, Abby, Gunnar, Forrest (deceased), Levi, Owen, Caleb, Bennett, Kendall, Kyle, Ryan and Harley. He was preceded in death by his mother, Viola (Stedman) Berry and his brother Henry Stedman who was so proud of his accomplishments. He leaves behind wonderful nieces and nephews that adored him.

Norm’s childhood years were spent growing up in Carroll, IA in the depth of the depression. He often talked of his earliest memories developing as World War II approached and that he witnessed “not-so-far-removed times that will soon be forgotten.” From his autobiography: “I observed fields being prepared with wooden-handled plows pulled by teams of horses, ears of corn being picked by hand and thrown into horse-drawn wagons, and cows being milked by the light of kerosene lanterns. I spent many nights in farmhouses that did not yet provide the comforts of plumbing or electricity, and the sole source of heat was a wood-burning cook-stove. I observed foot thick ice being cut from Blackhawk Lake to be buried deep in the ground under sawdust and used through the next summer to cool perishables in ice boxes and make homemade ice-cream. All of these things, being little different from early settlement days of Iowa, were rapidly changing to more modern procedures. And, although I much prefer the modern conveniences that we now enjoy, I consider myself very fortunate to have witnessed the evolutionary lifestyles of the late 1930s and the early 1940s. These memories will disappear with my generation.” His pre-teen years during World War II left an indelible mark on the shaping of his patriotism and his love of airplanes.

Norm enlisted in the USAF in June 1950 at the age of 17. After Basic Military Training at Lackland AFB he attended aircraft maintenance school at Sheppard AFB and was then assigned to Gary AFB in San Marcos, TX. While there he met Shirley Hanagriff of Martindale, TX while swimming in the San Marcos River. They were married on August 2, 1952. After selection for Officer Candidate School, he was commissioned in 1955. His first assignment as an officer was to Chanute AFB, IL as a maintenance instructor. He was selected to USAF Undergraduate Pilot Training in 1957 and attended primary flight training at Hondo AFB, TX and basic flight training at Vance AFB, OK in Class 58M. After earning his wings as a distinguished graduate, he flew the C-124 Globemaster at Donaldson AFB, SC. Unfortunately, his class “drop” was disappointing. The only choice was bombers or transports. Bombers would have meant SAC (Strategic Air Command), so he chose MATS (Military Airlift Command) and the C-124…BUT, he was still flying. His quote about the C-124, “The C-124 was the antithesis of what I thought an aircraft should be. It was about as big as it was ugly, heavy, awkward, and slow. It was an all-around depressing aircraft to fly, but it was about the only choice I had.” But to be positive, as he always was, he talked of all the wonderful places he traveled to: England, France, Germany, Spain, Greenland (well, maybe not Thule), Greece, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Italy, Japan, Hawaii, Formosa, the Philippines, Libya, Puerto Rico, Bermuda, Labrador, Kwajalein, the Azores, Brazil and all points in the CONUS. After leaving Donaldson AFB he attended Squadron Officers School (SOS) at Maxwell AFB, AL enroute to Communications Officer School at Keesler AFB, MS. Unlike today, while at SOS he was able to continue flying and got stick time in the C-47 and C-54. He was then assigned to Ramstein AB, Germany as a Comms Officer where he flew the T-33 and C-47. On one occasion he flew the C-47 to India on a State Department mission for Averell Harriman. Following the three years overseas tour he and his family came back to the States, and he was assigned to the Central NOTAM facility at Tinker AFB where he also flew the U-3B Blue Canoe.

After 15 years on active duty, Norm finally got his dream assignment. Instructor Pilot in the T-38. He attended T-38 PIT (Pilot Instructor Training) at Randolph AFB in early 1966 where he finished as a distinguished graduate and was given the “Clark Kent” Award by his fellow classmates. He was a Flight Commander, Section Commander, and Ops Officer at Laughlin AFB until his retirement in July 1970. He always said being a T-38 IP was his ultimate assignment and loved the T-38. His students loved his dry humor and big heart and on many a Friday night, he and Shirley would hear a knock on the front door as his students would “no-notice’ him after “celebratory” festivities at the Laughlin O’Club. (Which happened to be directly across the street from base housing…) He often talked of the students he trained and how many never came home from Southeast Asia.

Norm was a big R/C aircraft fan and after retirement he started an R/C model airplane business. He was nationally known as an expert in this endeavor, winning many aerobatic and pylon racing events. He sold the business in the early eighties and settled down to enjoy his grandchildren and eventually great-grandchildren. He will forever be missed and loved. Blue skies Dad.


 In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to the Red River Valley Fighter Pilots Association Scholarship fund:
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Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Service

Friday, July 28, 2023

10:00 - 11:00 am (Central time)

Randolph Air Force Base - Chapel #1

2 Washington Cir, Randolph Air Force Base, TX 78150

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Graveside Service

Friday, July 28, 2023

2:15 - 2:45 pm (Central time)

Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery, San Antonio

1520 Harry Wurzbach Rd, San Antonio, TX 78209

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Celebration of Life Reception

Friday, July 28, 2023

Starts at 5:00 pm (Central time)

Randolph Air Force Base Officers Club

500 Main Cir., Randolph AFB, 78150

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