William Caldwell

William Coe Caldwell

1922 - 2020

Share Your Memory of

Obituary of William Coe Caldwell

William Coe (Bill) Caldwell, passed away peacefully at home in Tulsa on June 7, 2020, at the age of 98. He was born on May 29, 1922 in Grandfield, OK, to Henry Halbert Caldwell and Mamie Jett Caldwell, and was the youngest of seven children – five boys and two girls. The family moved to Durant, OK in 1932, where Bill graduated from high school in 1940. Growing up in Durant, Bill began his military service in 1936 with the Oklahoma National Guard, “fudging” on his age because he was only 14. He remained in the Guard throughout high school, leaving only after receiving a football scholarship from the University of Oklahoma. After playing at OU in 1940, Bill transferred to Marquette University where he played for three years. After the U.S. entered WWII, Bill joined the Army Air Corps, graduated as the outstanding cadet in his class, and was assigned to the 8th Air Force, 452nd Bomb Group, based in Deopham Green, England. On his 22nd and final mission over Germany as a B-17 pilot, Lt. Caldwell’s B-17 was intercepted by two German jets. Five of his 10-man crew perished. Bill and the remaining crew landed safely near Dresden, and were taken prisoner by the Germans. After marching hundreds of miles, the POW’s trek ended at Stalag VII-A, a prison camp near Munich, which was liberated on April 29, 1945. As a pilot and POW, Lt. Caldwell was never happier than when his “band of Caldwell brothers” all came home safely from the war after serving in combat in five different branches of the military. After the war ended, Bill and his brother-in-law, J.T. Neal, bought a grocery store in Durant. In 1947, Bill married the love of his life, Clare Hoard, of Durant. In 1949, Bill graduated from Southeastern State College in Durant, lettering in football. After a tryout with the Pittsburg Steelers, Bill returned to Durant. In 1951, Bill was called up for the Korean Conflict and served as Squadron Commander at Perrin AFB in Sherman, Texas, and then at Laredo AFB, In Laredo, TX. In 1953, Bill joined New York Life, and the following year he was transferred, and the young family moved to Tulsa. He retired from New York Life in 2006 after a 53-year career. During their years in Tulsa, Bill, Clare and family were active members of University United Methodist, and later, New Haven United Methodist Church. Bill loved horses, especially Appaloosa’s, and he loved horse racing. Over the years, he owned and bred Appaloosa’s for racing and for pleasure. Bill loved people and never met a stranger. Most of all, he loved his family and family get-togethers. In 1979, Bill and Clare moved to a home on 10 acres north of Sand Springs and were active at Sand Springs United Methodist Church. In 2014, they moved to Burgundy Place Senior Living in Tulsa. As a former OU player and lifelong Sooner fan, and for his service in WWII, Bill was honored as “Patriot of the Game” at the OU-Iowa State football game in 2015. In 2018, Bill and Clare moved to Legend Assisted Living - Tulsa Hills. Clare passed away in 2019, a few months after they celebrated their 72nd wedding anniversary. Bill was also preceded in death by his brothers: Wayne, George, Jim and Floyd Caldwell; and his sisters: Thelma Scheller and Gladyce Neal. He is survived by his children, Nancy Day (Dean), Tulsa; Marian Tisdal (Mart), Clinton; and Buddy Caldwell (Julie), Norman; grandchildren, Julia Tisdal, Lance Day (Summer), Ash Day, Logan Tisdal, Courtney Peterson (Nick) and Callie Wolf (Justin); great-grandchildren, Parker Day, Madelyn Day and Scottie Peterson; and beloved cousins, nieces and nephews. A private burial was held at Memorial Park Cemetery. A memorial service will be held at a later date. The family would like to thank John Henning Schumann, M.D., the staff at Legend Assisted Living - Tulsa Hills, and Grace Hospice for their kind and compassionate care. In lieu of flowers the family suggests donations be made to the charity of your choice. Ninde Brookside, 918-742-5556.