Herbert T. Hirata Lt. Col USAF/Ret. passed away at Shannon Memorial Hospital in San Angelo Texas on April 25, 2021.
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Herb was preceded in death by his parents Peter T. Hirata and Misao Hirata, Setsumi Hirata, and his wife of over 50 years, Dorothy Chandler Hirata.
He is survived by his sister Elaine Harai and husband George, Daughter Teresa and husband George, Niece Andrea Shea and husband Phil, Niece Brenda Harai and husband Bill, Nephew Calen Harai and wife Jill, great-nieces and nephews Nick, Emily, Hayden, and Hollyn along with numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Herb was born in Kealakekua Kona Hawaii and graduated from Konawaena High School and went on to the University of Hawaii, earning a BS in Engineering. In 1959 he enlisted in the United States Air Force to become a Navigator/Bombardier. Herb was stationed at Loring Air Base Loring, Maine, Goodfellow Air Base San Angelo, Texas, Yokota Air Base Tokyo, Japan, Barksdale Air Base Shreveport, La, and K I Sawyer Air Base, Marquette, Mi. He flew over 200 combat missions in Vietnam and was a recipient of countless medals including the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal, and the Bronze Star before retiring in 1979. Herb married the love of his life Dorothy, on September 9, 1964, and they shared over 50 years of adventure. He was an accomplished carpenter building a custom home, decks, and other projects over the years. Herb became a pecan farmer in Menard, Texas for a short time, winning over 100 ribbons and awards with his paper shell pecans. He later settled in San Angelo, Texas, and became a Supreme Master Gem Cutter, receiving 4 Pinnacle awards and other recognition for his designs and cutting in semi-precious stones. Herb also was a published book author, his most recent work is “Up, Up and Over.” As a Vietnam veteran, Herb continued to support Wounded Warriors of America after retirement. He also supported local food banks and various animal rescues.
Arrangements are under the direction of Shaffer Funeral Home. Online condolences can be made at shafferpioneer.com.