Stephen James DeWerff, 63, of Newnan, took his final earthly flight on June 15, 2020 at Piedmont Newnan Hospital.
Born in Hillsboro, Illinois on September 11, 1956, he was a loving son, brother, father, and grandfather. The eldest grandchild on both sides of his family, a job he took very seriously; Steve was the rock that everyone leaned on. He was a family man, incredibly proud of each of his offspring, and did not hesitate to tell everyone how great they were. Steve was raised on a dairy farm in Nokomis, Illinois with six younger brothers and sisters. From the time he was 8 years old, Steve aspired to fly jets. He graduated from Nokomis High School in 1974 and attended the University of Illinois on a four-year Air Force ROTC scholarship. While at U of I, he pledged Sigma Pi, was a member of Air Force ROTC and obtained a bachelor’s degree in Animal Science. After graduation in 1978, he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the US Air Force. During a nine-month delay until reporting to Reese Air Force Base in Lubbock, Texas, he taught agriculture and the FFA program at Pana High School and was the sophomore boys’ basketball coach. He served as a pilot in the United States Air Force for 30 years on active and active reserve duty achieving the rank of Colonel. For most of his military career, Col. DeWerff flew KC-10 aerial refueling planes. He served in Operation Urgent Fury, Operation Desert Storm, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. In 2008, Col. DeWerff finished his career as the vice commander of 934th Airlift Wing in Minneapolis, Minnesota flying C-130 Hercules aircraft. Among Steve’s numerous awards and decorations throughout his Air Force career, are: Legion of Merit; Meritorious Service Medal; Aerial Achievement Medal; Air Force Commendation Medal; Air Force Achievement Medal; Air Force Outstanding Unit Award; Air Force Organizational Excellence Award; Combat Readiness Medal; National Defense Service Medal with Bronze Service Star; Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal; Southwest Asia Service Medal with two Bronze Service Stars; Global War On Terrorism Expeditionary Medal; Global War On Terrorism Service Medal; Humanitarian Service Medal; and, many more. In 1988, Steve was hired by Delta Airlines and began a 32-year career with the company. During his time with Delta, Steve flew Boeing 727; MD-88; L-1011; Boeing 757; Boeing 767; Boeing 777. His last 14 years with Delta, Steve was a Captain on the 767-ER flying to South America, Central America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. In 42 years of flying, Steve clocked more than 25,000 hours of flying to more than a hundred countries and 6 continents. Flying was more than a career, it was his passion, but nothing was more important to Steve than his family and friends. Steve made friends wherever he went and always made them feel they had been friends for decades. Steve was one-of-a-kind and will be dearly missed by all.
He is survived by his loving partner Romie Black of Newnan, GA; his parents James L. and Betty Durbin DeWerff of Nokomis, IL; sons, William Anthony DeWerff and his husband, Edward Norris of Atlanta, and Robert James DeWerff of Los Angeles, CA; daughter, Elizabeth DeWerff Fahnders and her husband, Benjamin Fahnders; grandson, James Paul Fahnders of Houston, TX; brothers and sisters, Kevin (Kathy) DeWerff, Dennis (Vickie) DeWerff, Nancy (Rick) Roberts, Kathryn Finley, Tim (Shell) DeWerff, and Chrissy DeWerff (Brad Whalen).
Funeral services will be held on Saturday, June 20, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. at St. Louis Catholic Church in Nokomis, Illinois. Interment with full military honors will follow in Calvary Cemetery in Nokomis. The family will receive friends on Friday, June 19, 2020 from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. at Stiehl-Dawson Funeral Home, 200 East State Street, Nokomis, Illinois.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Glioblastoma Foundation, Post Office Box 62066, Durham, NC 27715 or https://glioblastomafoundation.org/ in memory of Steve DeWerff.
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Post Office Box 62066, Durham NC 27715