Barney Walter Pelham
Barney Walter Pelham was born in Davenport, Iowa, 19 October 1941, to Norris and Mildred Pelham. He grew up in Calamus, Iowa, with his two younger brothers, Randy and John. The day after graduation, 25 May 1959, at 17 years of age, with signed permission from his parents, he joined the US Air Force.
During his 22 years of service, Barney served in intelligence, working closely with the NSA. He spent several years in Scotland and Japan. While in Scotland, Barney married Marjorie Douglas Balfour. His firstborn son, Stuart, was born in Scotland; his second son, Sean, was born in Japan. Following their return to the states, Barney was accepted into the Airman Educational College Program. The Air Force provided all funds and Staff Sargeant's pay, while he worked towards his Math degree and two minors in Physics at Auburn University in Alabama. During this time his youngest son, Scott, was born. Barney remained a devoted lifelong Auburn fan. War Eagle!
After graduation from Auburn, Barney was sent to Officer Basic Training school and on to satellite tracking at NORAD. In 1975, he spent a year remote at a radar site at Shemya, an island in the Aleution chain of Alaska. He finished his career at Malstrom AFB in Great Falls, Montana, as a crew commander at Alternate Command Post of Norad. He retired on 1 June 1981 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Following retirement from the Air Force, he worked as a government contractor doing the same job as before retirement.
On 15 December 1984, Barney married Janice Carol Houchin in Colorado Springs. In 1999, Barney and Jan moved to Westcliffe, Colorado, to build a house on their 35 acres of land in Ilse Camp. They did most of the planning and building on their own, contracting out the more difficult work: roofing, electrical and plumbing. Before moving into the house, they spent 2 and 1/2 years in a small room in the back of their garage with only electricity. They considered it an adventure.
Barney was an active member of the Rustic Hills Lions Club in Colorado Springs, from 1973 until 2000. For several years, he taught Algebra to young people at Pikes Peak Community College. He loved driving the school bus in Colorado Springs and in Westcliffe from 1998 to 2011. He was also a driver for the Rotary Club in Westcliffe from 2005 to 2016. He enjoyed camping, hiking, tennis, bowling, traveling (by car), reading and conquering sudoku.
Barney was a kind and generous man who loved the Lord and His Word, and strived to emulate Him in all his ways. He has been described by friends and family as a gentle giant, a big teddy bear; easy-going, amazing, humble, fun-loving, with an infectious smile and laughter that could make any day a better day. He was a mentor, role model and teacher to many young people in his life.
Barney was preceded in death by: brother Jimmy Pelham, father Norris Pelham, mother Millie Pelham, son Stuart Pelham and great-grandson Jayden Salley. He is survived by brothers Randy Pelham and John Pelham of Des Moines, sons Sean Pelham and Chad Houchin of Colorado Springs, son Scott Pelham of Denver, and daughter Amy Anderson of Purvis, Mississippi. Also surviving are Marjorie Lewis, sixteen grandchildren and eleven great-grandchildren.
Close family and friends will celebrate Barney's life at a later date. In lieu of flowers, Barney would have loved for you to donate to his favorite charities: St. Jude's Hospital and/or the Salvation Army.