Lt Col (Retired AF) Steven "Banger" Wallender flew West on the 4th of September at 0900 hours, after a long and difficult struggle with cancer. Steve passed away peacefully in his sleep at his home after a courageous 13 month long battle with cancer. Steve is survived by his loving wife of 23 years, Valerie Foster Wallender, his daughter Madison Wallender, father Thomas Wallender, mother Janice Fischer Wallender, and his brother Tim Wallender.
Steve was born in Manitowoc, Wisconsin and grew up in Chandler, Arizona. He was the Valedictorian of his Chandler High School Class of 1979 and the Captain of his high school swim team. Following high school, Steve attended the United States Air Force Academy where he excelled at parachuting. He was a member of the National Championship Wings of Blue, while accumulating more than 800 freefall jumps. Steve graduated from the Air Force Academy in June 1983 and attended Pilot Training at Vance Air Force Base in Enid, Oklahoma. Upon graduation, due to his superior flying skills, Steve was selected to be a T-37 Instructor Pilot, teaching fledgling pilots how to fly. After serving his tour in the T-37, Steve went on to fly the F-15 Eagle. During his multiple tours in the F-15, Steve served in Operation Desert Shield, Desert Storm, and Iraqi Freedom, where he flew multiple combat missions in hostile airspace. Steve was then assigned to the United States House of Representatives as a Congressional Liaison. He then returned to the F-15. His F-15 tours were located at Bitburg AB West Germany, Kadena AB Okinawa Japan, Langley AFB Virginia and Tyndall AFB Florida. He served as the Commander of the 325th OSS until he retired in 2003. Steve was a highly decorated combat pilot with over 2000 hours in the F15.
Following Retirement, Steve flew the B757 as a First Officer with ATA airlines for one year until he was hired by Federal Express. While at FedEx, Steve flew the B727 as a Second Officer and the MD11 as a First Officer until he was diagnosed with cancer. Steve loved aviation as well as having a tremendous passion for golf. He was a member of the River Crossing Golf Course in Spring Branch, Texas. He passed on his passion for golf to his daughter, Madison, who is playing on the golf team while attending Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas.
Blue skies, tail winds, and stay in the fairways until we meet again.
The family would like to thank the staff at CanThera and Methodist Stone Oak Hospital for the wonderful care and support during these last 13 months of therapy and medical care. Funeral Services are as follows:
• Thursday, 9 Sep 2010
*1800-2000 hrs - Viewing at Porter Loring Funeral Home, 2102 North Loop 1604 East, San Antonio, Texas 78232, 210-495-8221, email www.porterloring.com
• Friday, 10 Sep 2010
*1200-1300 - Funeral Service at Porter Loring North Chapel, 2102 North Loop 1604 East, San Antonio, Texas 78232
*1345-1430 - Burial Service at Ft. Sam Houston National Military Cemetery with Military Honors
*1600-???? - Celebration of Life Reception, Location TBD