Burlington soldier remembered as a family man

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 3, 2007

SOUTH POINT — Hundreds of people filled the South Point High School gymnasium Sunday to honor a Burlington soldier who was killed in Iraq.

Chief Warrant Officer Theodore U. “Tuc” Church, 32, was remembered fondly by family and friends as a charming guy who was sincere, loyal, thoughtful and dedicated to his family.

Church was killed May 28 in Muqdadiyah, Iraq, after the OH-58D Kiowa helicopter he was piloting was shot down. He was assigned to the 2nd Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment. His co-pilot was also killed during the incident.

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Church and his wife of 12 years, Mindi, were high school sweethearts. Both graduated from South Point High School. They had a 6-year-old daughter, Maryn, and a 4-year-old son, Dorian.

Church is also survived by his mother, Betty Church; brothers Darrel Jr. and Timothy Church; and his nieces, Samantha and Anastasia; and nephew, Seth.

During Sunday’s ceremony, several people spoke fondly of Church, who had served six years in the U.S. Army and four years in the U.S. Navy.

John Hess, friend of the late soldier said, “The time I spent with Tuc I will cherish as some of the best times of my life.”

He said the two shared common interests of cars, hunting and paintball.

“I have no bad memories of Tuc…his friendship meant a lot to me,” Hess said.

He quoted Gen. George S. Patton, saying, “It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived.”

Fellow Chief Warrant Officer Eric Smith, who was a Cavalry scout like Church, said, “He was a man’s man. He wore spurs and he knew how to use them.”

In addition to being a competent aviator and strong soldier, Smith said there was another side to Church; his love and respect for his wife and children were things that people that served with him tried to emulate, Smith said.

Smith wiped tears as he said, “There are few people that I would follow to the ends of the earth, but Tuc was one.”

Church also received recognition from U.S. Congressman Charles Wilson and State Rep. Clyde Evans.

“His spirit will live on through the patriots throughout eternity and will live in the lives of each of us,” Evans said.

Church will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C.