DT Thomas Cordle, known as Duck to his family in Alabama and Big T to his children, was born to the late Isabell Cordle on May 24, 1940. Thomas was born in Decatur, Alabama and raised in Detroit, Michigan.
Thomas attended East Detroit High School. As a young man, Thomas is described by his cousin as a good student and a good person; never in trouble. From his own account, growing up in the Motor City had its advantages. Thomas was reported to have dated Martha Reeves from the popular group Martha Reeves and the Vandellas. At least, that was his story and he stuck to it.
Upon leaving high school Thomas enlisted in the Army, where he served stateside tours at Ft Carson, Colorado and Ft Sill, Oklahoma. He was stationed overseas in Korea once and in Germany 3 times. He saw action in two tours in Viet Nam. Thomas retired with 20 years of service. In his own words, “I served my country to the best of my ability, even though I was not compensated for it.” He went on to serve another 20 years with the Postal Service.
In 1966 as he was celebrating his birthday, his life changed forever. He happened to meet a woman who was celebrating her birthday too. One thing led to another and Thomas and Cynthia raised three children together. He a guiding force to his children, his six grandchildren and nine great grandchildren. As Dad and as Pop-Pop, he was much loved.
From 1975 - 1990 Thomas mentored young cadets from the Air Force Academy. The Cordle home became part of their support system away from home. Several of these men keep in touch with the family.
Thomas had many talents and interests. He was quite a handyman, and good thing, because Cynthia always had ideas for improvements. He could paint, wallpaper, and build all sorts of things. No one could touch his super-secret recipes for barbecue sauce or sweet potato casserole. No one was able to get those recipes either. Thomas accepted Christ as his savior and was baptized at Mount Calvary Baptist Church in Spokane, Washington. He loved his mother, his family, Motown Music, good food, barbecue and the Denver Broncos.
Thomas is preceded into the next life by his nephew, Terence, son, Russell, and mother, Isabell. He leaves behind his wife Cynthia, sister Flora Mills, daughters Cheryl Cordle Pate and Karen Cordle Jordan (Clifford); nephew Andre’ Cordle (Felicia); grandchildren Gabrielle Cordle Pate Taylor, Rachel Pate Finley (Ricardo), Dominique Pate, Chelsea Jordan, Pierce Jordan, and Maryn Jordan; great grandchildren Kristopher Taylor, Airyanna Trammell, Elijah Pate, Jeremiah Finley, Isaiah Finley, Amiya Pate, Brianna Watson, De’Ani Dixon, and Denver Dixon.
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