July 28, 1930 - March 14, 2017 James Dudley Pewitt, 86, was born and raised in Franklin, Tennessee. He is predeceased by his parents, James Isaac and Eleanor Dudley Pewitt and his sister Eleanor Pewitt Ezell. He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Betty Hightower Pewitt, his three sons Ransom D. (Laura), James P. (Angela), Ted (Catherine) Pewitt, as well as nine grandchildren, two great grandchildren, his brother, Gale Pewitt, and several nieces and nephews. Dudley attended Vanderbilt University and earned two Master's and a Doctoral Degree at the University of Southern California. He was named outstanding student in the Graduate School of Business with academic honors in Phi Kappa Phi, Sigma Xi, Beta Gamma Sigma and ODK. Entering the U.S. Air Force in 1951, Dudley began a varied and distinguished career serving in the 97th Fighter Squadron, as a test pilot, as Aide de Camp to two commanding generals and ultimately as Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Air Force (Finance). He flew more than 100 combat missions in Vietnam as an F-4 pilot and as vice commander of the 366th Tactical Fighter Wing. He was highly decorated during his service, and was awarded the Legion of Merit (with one oak leaf cluster), the Bronze Star, the Distinguished Flying Cross (with three oak leaf clusters), the Air Medal (with 11 oak leaf clusters), and at least ten other awards and foreign decorations. After 23 years of service and attaining the rank of Colonel, Dudley retired from the Air Force and joined the growing University of Alabama at Birmingham. He rose to become Senior Vice President for Administration. He was active in many civic organizations in his adoptive city, serving on the Airport Authority Board, the Metropolitan Development Board, as Chairman of the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, and as a member of the Finance Committee of Mountain Brook. He is also a graduate of Leadership Birmingham and Leadership Alabama. His love of aviation lead him to serve as chairman of the board and later director of the Southern Museum of Flight. Dudley was also a long-time member of Canterbury United Methodist Church, the Country Club of Birmingham and Kappa Alpha Order. The family wishes to express a sincere thank you to a special friend and companion, Norris Cooper, as well as the staff of Fairhaven Retirement Community. Services will be held at Canterbury United Methodist Church, 350 Overbrook Road, Mt. Brook 35213 on Friday, March 17, 2017. Visitation is at 10 a.m., followed by a funeral service at 11 a.m. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Canterbury UMC, UAB Athletics or the Southern Museum of Flight.
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