James Reverdy Allender, Jr.

September 18, 1930 — July 9, 2023

Rev Allender, 92, passed peacefully into Heaven, July 9, 2023, to be with Jesus, his Lord and Savior.

He was born Sept. 18, 1930, in Porterville, Calif., to Amelia and James Reverdy Allender, Sr. He was the middle son of five boys. Rev grew up loving aviation and flying. He earned his private pilot’s license by age 16, hitchhiking 50 miles each way to the airport. After graduating from high school in 1948 in California, he attended UW in Seattle and graduated with an Aeronautical Engineering degree.

After graduating, he worked as a Flight Test Engineer for the U.S. Air Force at Edwards AFB, Calif.

He joined the Air Force in 1957 and was sent to the aviation cadet program at Lackland AFB, San Antonio, Texas. After graduating, he continued with advanced training in jets. He was assigned to Hamilton AFB, Calif., to the F-104 83rd FIS. During his check ride, he had to bail out in San Francisco Bay. Several months later, he had to bail out again due to engine failure. He met his future wife, Carol, “by accident,” as she was the secretary at the Flight Surgeon’s office. He actually asked her to go flying. They were married Aug. 19.1961.

Rev was sent to Homestead AFB, Fla., to fly the F-104 to guard/protect the east coast during the Cuban Missile Crisis. He then was sent to Goose Bay, Labrador, Canada; next, Webb AFB, Texas; and then to Edwards AFB, Calif. He worked on the SR-71 (Blackbird) as a flight test engineer in stability and control and acquired some flight time in the SR-71 and earned a place in the “Mach Three Plus” club.

In 1970, Rev was sent to Vietnam to fly the Cessna 0-2 as a Forward Air Controller (FAC). He received the “Distinguished Flying Cross” medal while flying a mission in Vietnam. He was involved with many humanitarian efforts. Rev returned to the U.S, and was reassigned to Edwards AFB to the test pilot school. Later, he was sent to Seattle, to work with the Air Force and Boeing on the AWACS project.

Rev retired from the Air Force in 1978 and went to work for Boeing. He worked as a flight test engineer on the 767. Then he worked as an engineer on the MX Missile project. Next, he became a flight crew instructor on the 747-400, training pilots from other countries to fly in the 747-400 simulator. He traveled to several countries training international pilots. He retired from Boeing in 1995.

He also obtained his A&P Mechanics license to work on planes and continued to teach private flight instruction, including aerobatics and mountain flying.

In his long flying career, Rev got to fly many different aircraft both in the Air Force and in private flying. Some of the Air Force planes included the T-28, T-34, T-33, F-86, O-2, F-101, F-102, and his favorite, the F-104. He also flew many civilian planes. He really loved the experience of flying the SR-71 Blackbird.

Rev had many interests including church, missions, photography, hiking, sailing, kayaking, fishing, but most of all, flying, especially his Cessna 140A. He loved being around airplanes, which led him to volunteering as a docent at the Heritage Flight Museum at the Skagit Airport. He cherished the staff and volunteers there.

He is remembered as the most loving and devoted husband, father, grandfather, and faithful friend. He is survived by his wife, Carol; daughters, Deborah (Larry) Johnston, Lori (Jeff) Nemes and Janet (Meshak) Drew; grandchildren, Josiah (Hallie) Nemes, Isaac, Janiece, Aarik, and Chayla Nemes, and Brennan, Elijah, and Gabriel Drew; and future great-grandchild.

His faith in God was the motivation behind everything he did in his adventurous life. He believed he served a great God, who had made a beautiful world and filled it with people worthy of love. He will be remembered for his kindness, gentleness, integrity, humility, great sense of humor, and for being a faithful friend. His life impacted so many, and he will be greatly missed by all.

His memorial service was held July 29 at Family Bible Church in Oak Harbor. His burial with military honors was Aug. 8 at Tahoma National Cemetery, in Kent, Wash.

If you would like to make a contribution in Rev’s memory, please consider:
Family Bible Church (designate “Missions”), Oak Harbor, Wash.
Heritage Flight Museum, Burlington, Wash.
MATA (Missionary Aviation Training Academy), Arlington, Wash.