I’ve been avoiding this post for far too long. I guess I just wasn’t ready to face the awful reality of it, but now it’s time.
In your lifetime you will probably acquire many friends. Alas, only a very select few of those friends will ever qualify as ‘really special’. In my lifetime I’ve acquired perhaps four such friends.
In my very early teens that special friend was Geary L. Long. In college and to this day that special friend remains David K. Williams. As far as next-door neighbors go, that person is federal immigration judge Gary D. Burkholder who, along with his wife Kathy, now resides in San Antonio.
But early in my Air Force life and very early in my air traffic control career up until his all-too-early and very tragic death that very special friend was Frank O. Bomar of Del Rio, Texas. Oddly coincidental, Frank originally hailed from that very same place as David — Spartanburg, South Carolina — yet I met the former while stationed in England and the latter while attending university several years earlier. Up until my wedding to Ursula, neither knew the other nor had ever before met.
In late October of last year this energetic, vital, and active man was involved in an incredibly stupid motorcycle accident that left him almost completely paralyzed — an accident cause by an elderly woman who quite obviously had no business being behind the wheel of an automobile when she failed to yield the right-of-way and made a left turn directly in front of Frank’s 2006 Honda Goldwing. Fortunately, Ursula and I were able to visit with him for a couple of days before he finally succumbed to his injuries on April 11 of this year. Unfortunately, he passed before our intended trip to visit with him again over the Memorial Day weekend at the end of May.
In his professional life Frank was, well, professional. There’s just simply no other way I can describe that side of him, and it’s very likely why we became such good friends as I, too, took the job of air traffic controller very seriously. Yet off duty he knew how to have fun, and we enjoyed many of the same pursuits, such as cooking with a Southern flair and, at the time we first met, enjoying a good single-malt Scotch or English ale.
Frank was also incredibly devoted to his loving wife Helen, to whom I just spoke as recently as this past Saturday. Frank met Helen in the same place I met my future wife Ursula — while we were both stationed together yet again, this time working in the control tower and PAR facility (Precision Approach Radar) at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona. At the time Davis-Monthan had the distinction of being one of the busiest single-runway operations in the entire world, and after a busy day in the tower you knew that you had more than earned your miserly military paycheck.
Frank stayed in the Air Force for a career while I left for higher pay doing the same job in the Federal Aviation Administration. We lost touch for a few years until Ursula managed to track him and Helen down for me, and we reestablished ties again shortly thereafter. Indeed, one of our guest bedrooms is named ‘The Bomar Suite” in their honor.
So, what brought about this reminiscing and sudden desire on my part to post what I should have posted months ago? I recently received from Helen the link below, which will present to you a video memorial produced by a friend of both Helen and Frank. Look for both Ursula and me at the . . . well, I’ll let you see if you can spot the two of us at the appropriate video mark: