June 14, 1945- Nov. 17, 2014
LAKE GASTON, North Carolina -- Colonel Robert Henry Haden, USAF (Ret.) (“Hank”) passed away on November 17, 2014 after a year-long battle with lung cancer at the age of 69.
Born June 14, 1945 in Huntington, W.Va., Hank is the son of the late Arthur Edgar and Betty E. (Heineman) Haden. Hank graduated from Huntington High School in 1963 and from West Virginia Wesleyan in 1967 with a Bachelor of Science, Management. He obtained an MBA from Texas Tech University in 1971.
Hank proudly served his country as a fighter pilot in the U.S. Air Force for nearly 28 years, seeing action in both the Vietnam conflict as a Prairie Fire FAC(A) and in Desert Shield/Desert Storm (where he was the Director of Operations for the 354th Fighter Wing at King Fahd, Saudi Arabia, the largest air operations facility in the first Gulf War). He spent most of his flying career as a pilot of the A-10 Thunderbolt II (affectionately known as the “Warthog”) and was a Command Pilot with over 3,300 hours in the T-37, T-38, O2-A, OV-10, T-39 and the A-10. Hank retired as a decorated Air Force officer and pilot having been awarded, among other honors, the Distinguished Flying Cross with two oak leaf clusters (one for heroism), the Bronze Star, and the Meritorious Service Medal with one silver leaf cluster and one oak leaf cluster. After retiring from the Air Force, Hank had successful careers with Fireside Hearth & Home, finishing as the Regional Field Operations Manager, and as a real estate broker and developer in Raleigh and Lake Gaston.
Hank, always active in his community, was a member of St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in Littleton, NC, serving on the vestry and served as President of the Lake Gaston Chamber of Commerce.
Hank is survived by his beloved wife of nearly 44 years, Eileen Mary Piat Haden. Hank and Eileen traveled the world with the Air Force, establishing a home in 21 different residences and living in such diverse places as England, Hawaii and South Korea as well as all across the continental U.S. They finally settled down at Lake Gaston, NC, and have called Lake Gaston home for the last 20 years. Hank is also survived by his two sons, Brent, a corporate attorney with Pender & Coward in the Hampton Roads Region of Virginia, along with his wife Kimberly and their two sons, Reuther and Bauer Haden and his younger son, Ryan, a Lt. Col. in the USAF currently serving as squadron commander of the 74th fighter squadron (The World Famous Flying Tigers) at Moody AFB in Georgia, and his wife Gwenn and their two daughters Kendall and Loughren Haden. Hank leaves behind his sister, Betty Sue Kinzer, of Huntington, W.Va., and brother, David Haden, of Charleston, W.Va. and many other beloved family and friends.
A funeral service was held at St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in Littleton (300 Mosby Avenue, Littleton, N.C. ) on Saturday, November 22 at 11 a.m. Immediately following the service, the family received relatives and friends at the Lake Gaston Lions Club.
A second funeral service and burial will be held at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, DC at a date to be determined.
In lieu of gifts or flowers, the family requests that you make a commemorative gift in honor of Hank Haden to either the American Cancer Society or St. Albans’ Episcopal Church in Littleton, North Carolina.
American Cancer Society: The web site address for this gift is https://donate.cancer.org/index?campaign=search&gclid=CPL5gvLk38ECFWkV7AodOCAAiQ
St. Alban’s Church in Littleton, NC - Make checks payable to St. Alban’s Episcopal Church, 300 Mosby Avenue, Littleton, NC 27850. 252-586-4700.
Notes to the family may be sent to Mrs. Eileen Haden, 431 Waterside Drive, Henrico, NC, 27842. Online condolences may be sent to www.hockadayfs.com.