BOSSIER CITY, La. (KSLA) — He spent nearly 80 years of his 101 years on Earth in service to his country.
Thirty-eight years were spent in uniform, reaching the rank of colonel.
“I spent nine years as a colonel and couldn’t get promoted to general because I was only a high school graduate,” Col. Steven dePyssler told KSLA News 12 in 2017.
It’s a military career that spanned service in four wars - World War II, Korea, the French Indo-China and Vietnam Wars.
“There’s a sense of a long fulfilling life,” shared the Colonel’s son, Bruce, who is in town from North Carolina to handle his father’s affairs after passing away on July 25 after a diagnosis of COVID-19.
“I got a squeeze out of his hand. He opened his eyes and recognized me. That was a couple of days before he died,” Bruce added.
Ask anyone who knew Colonel dePyssler, he was 101-years-old, going on 31.
“He had a couple of years left, a couple of years of productivity,” bragged Bruce.
Even in retirement, Colonel dePyssler never really retired. He volunteered in the retirees unit on Barksdale Air Force Base counseling other men and women in uniform.
He worked on based until mid-March when the statewide lock down was put in place. Weeks later, the Colonel tested positive for Coronavirus.
dePyssler’s final home address was the Northwest Louisiana Veterans Home in Bossier City, the very place he first dream of having built, and then led the fundraising charge to see it through.
Bruce said during the early 1960s while stationed in Minot, North Dakota, his father noted there was little to do for the children.
“So he says, lets start a Little League.”
In two years time, Bruce said his father had an entire baseball program up and running, lights and all.
dePyssler is also credited for leading the charge in having constructed both the War Memorial in Bossier City and the Fallen Soldier Cross Monument at the Northwest Louisiana Veteran’s Cemetery.
“He said to me throughout my life, you’ve got to help people,” explained Bruce.
“You’ve got to help people out and do what you can to help people.”
A memorial service for retired Air Force Colonel Steven dePyssler will be held on Barksdale Air Force Base on July 31.