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Thomas Paul Hensler, Jr.
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Obituary for Thomas Paul Hensler, Jr.

Thomas Paul Hensler Jr., beloved husband and father, passed away Friday, August 4, 2017, just weeks shy of his 92nd birthday on August 16. Born in 1925 in Clarkston, Georgia, to Mary Kilgore Hensler and Thomas Paul Hensler in a modest house behind Clarkston’s Methodist Church, he was a lover of life and whatever it brought him, especially when it came to his family. He died peacefully at home.

Tom, better known to his loved ones as “the Colonel,” “Stud,” or “Big H,” is survived by his wife of 65 years, Bennye Jean Scogin Hensler, and their children, Thomas Hensler III and wife, Kathryn Schumacher Hensler, Jim Hensler and wife, Connie Daniel Hensler, Brooke Hensler Gunter and husband, Cdr. Earl Gunter, Jr. and Meridith Hensler Ford. His grandchildren are Kenyon Hensler and wife, Courtney Clayton Hensler, Rachel Hensler, Greer Gunter, Kelsey Hensler, Regan Hensler, Whitney Hensler Vige and husband, David Vige, and Harper Ford. He was delighted to be a great grandfather to Piper Hensler. In addition to his parents, Tom was preceded in death by his brother, Jerry Kilgore Hensler.

Tom’s positive, “get it done” attitude guided him through life, and few people walked away from a conversation with him without laughing or learning something – usually both. He was a 1949 graduate of the United States Naval Academy, and served his life in the Armed Forces in the Navy, Marine Corps and Army. He served four Tours of Duty, first at the end of WWII as a back seat gunner warding off German U-Boats, through Korea where he flew combat missions in an A-1 Skyraider, flying both bombing and close-air support missions. After being shot down over enemy lines and crashing his A-1 just beyond the DMZ in friendly territory, Tom was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Purple Heart. His time during his two Tours of Duty in Vietnam was as liaison with the South Vietnamese Army. He retired from the Army in 1978 as a Colonel, but continued to serve as a federal civil servant.

A life-long learner, Tom held a Masters Degree in education from Georgia State University. He was a lover of bourbon (good or cheap), fireside philosophy, reading, oysters on the half shell and front flips off the diving board (even at age 75). But it was his family whom he loved and cherished most. Through 91 years, he never lost his insatiable curiosity and awe of the Universe, or his astoundingly contagious sense of humor.

The family will receive friends from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. Tuesday, August 8, at A.S. Turner & Sons Funeral Home. A graveside service will be held at 11:00 a.m. Wednesday, August 9, at Melwood Cemetery, Stone Mountain. The family wishes to acknowledge the exceptional care provided in Tom’s last months by his caregivers, Lisa Bowie, Danielle Souverain and Florelle Jean Pierre.

Flowers may be sent to A.S. Turner & Sons. Friends may honor Tom by donating to a charity of choice, or by simply being kind to one another.

Feel free to leave the family your condolences via the guestbook provided.


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Previous Events

Visitation

Tuesday

8

Aug

6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
A.S. Turner & Sons

2773 N. Decatur Road
Decatur, GA 30033

Graveside

Wednesday

9

Aug

11:00 AM
Melwood Cemetery

5170 E. Ponce de Leon Ave
Stone Mountain, GA 30083

Cemetery Details

Location

Melwood Cemetery

5170 E. Ponce de Leon Ave
Stone Mountain, GA 30083

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