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Col. Victor Sumter Vierra, (US ARMY, Ret.), 85

Col. Victor Sumter Vierra, (US ARMY, Ret.), 85

Col. Victor Sumter Vierra, (US ARMY, Ret.), 85, died at home at Tryon Estates in Columbus on October 14, 2018 following a lengthy illness. He was born November 5, 1932 on Sullivan’s Island, SC; a son of the late Francisco Joseph and Maria Angelina Costa Vierra. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his beloved adoptive father Thomas Horton, his foster mother Sue, as well as three brothers Fred, Edwin, and Vernon, and four sisters, Dorothy, Mildred, Jean, and Patricia.

As a youth, he was fondly known to all as “Vicky”. He was adopted by Rev. Thomas Walter Horton of the Presbyterian Church who would be his lifelong mentor and spiritual guide. He was a graduate of Presbyterian College, class of 1957. He excelled in his college career where he was tapped for the Blue Key Honor Society and president of Scabbard and Blade among many other honors and leadership positions. Upon graduation, he was commissioned by the U. S. Army which lead to a distinguished 28 year career. His first assignment was as a Second Lieutenant in the Armor Branch which took him to Fort Knox, Kentucky where he met Jean Stewart, the love of his life. They married on February 28, 1959. As an Army couple, their life together would be filled with frequent moves, but, also, steadfast love and respect.

His military career would take him all over the world, including assignments to Vietnam as an advisor in the Mekong Delta to the AfSouth Nato Headquarter in Naples, Italy. Stateside his assignments included the Pentagon, Ft. Benning, Ft. Leavenworth, Ft. McPherson, and Ft. Ord. He was noted for his articulate, practical and incisive style. As one of his commanding officers noted, if there was a difficult or complex job to be done, turn it over to Victor. The military achievement of which he was most proud was his command at Pan Mun Jong, Korea. It was at this time the infamous North Korea’s “axe murder” of two American officers occurred. His swift, insightful action is credited for preventing a renewal of hostilities between North and South Korea. This event and the actions of Operation Paul Bunyan and Task Force Vierra are the subject of an upcoming National Geographic documentary. The Republic of Korea has honored Victor with the Samil Medal believing that his actions and the staunch support by the Americans at this time gave Korea the confidence to develop from principally agrarian culture to an industrial leader. In 2015, he was inducted into the Presbyterian College ROTC Hall of Fame.

Upon his retirement from the Army, he and Jean moved to Hendersonville where he enjoyed his favorite pastimes of auction going, antique refinishing, gardening, woodcarving, and traveling. He became an active member of Grace Lutheran Church where he was a member of the Church Council and a Board member of Interfaith Assistance Ministry. Throughout his life and various assignments, he was very involved in the church serving often as a Sunday School teacher as well as serving on advisory council. His family and faith were always his touchstones in all matters.

He is survived by his wife Jean, of almost 60 years. His two sons: Victor Sumter Vierra, Jr. and his wife Beth Ann of Warren, Pa; Kent Stewart Vierra of Fort Walton, Fl and his daughter Lisa Hope Vierra-Moore and her husband, Joel of Laurel Park. In addition, he is survived by three brothers: Moultrie Vierra of Camarillo, Ca; David Vierra of Mt. Pleasant, SC, and Thomas Horton of Ft. Mill, SC as well as two sisters: Mary Brown Schepper and Susan Horton Van Zile both of Rock Hill.

The two lights of Victor’s later life were his two granddaughters, Abby and Madeleine Hatch. They gave him much joy, and they delighted in his playful nature and gentle guidance he bestowed on them as he had done with their mother, Lisa.

He is remembered with great love and respect by his many nephews, nieces, great nephews, and great nieces, as well as his colleagues, friends and church members.

His memorial service will be held at Grace Lutheran Church in Hendersonville on Saturday, November 3, 2018 at 2:00 pm. Interment at Arlington National Cemetery will be forthcoming.

In lieu of flowers, donations to St. Jude's Children's Hospital, 262 Danny Thomas Place, Memphis, TN 38105 or Wounded Warriors, PO Box 758517, Topeka, Kansas 66675-8517 are appreciated.

An online register book is available for family and friends by visiting Thos. Shepherd & Son Funeral Directors and Cremation Memorial Center is in charge of arrangements.