OBITUARY: Wilbur Richard DeMontbreun


Wilbur Richard DeMontbreun passed away peacefully on Wednesday, August 2nd, at age 92 with friends and loved ones at Alive Hospice- Murfreesboro.

Wilbur was born in Nashville, TN with his twin brother, Bill, on May 22, 1931, to the late James A. DeMontbreun and Edna N. DeMontbreun.

As a young teenager, Wilbur was very active in Scouting. He achieved his Eagle Scout Award in 1946 and received an Outstanding Eagle Award while a member of Explorer Scout Troop 38 in Nashville, TN.

He built numerous model airplanes and always wanted to learn to fly. He graduated from Isaac Litton High School in 1950 and won a football scholarship to the University of Wyoming.

During his second year a severe illness ended his ability to play football and he chose to enter the Navy’s Pilot Training program. In June 1954 he became a Naval Aviator and was assigned to fly carrier based SaF’s with Anti-Sub Warfare Squadron VS-3o at Norfolk, Va. During his four years with the squadron he made trips to Europe to visit Oban, Scotland, Cherburg and Paris, France.

He conducted photo reconnaissance flights of Russian cargo ships during the Cuban Missile Crisis. In 1958 he was assigned as a Flight Instructor at Pensacola, Fla. in teaching acrobatics, gunnery, and instrument flying techniques.

In 1960 he was selected to attend the Naval Post Graduate School at Monterey, CA to obtain a degree in Meteorology. And his wife, June, since 1956, had just presented him with son and daughter twins and with immediate orders to move to Monterey. His Naval career did not get much busier than that, but it certainly did for June. After his graduation in 1962 he was assigned as the Meteorology Officer aboard the Carrier U.S.S. Lake Champlain based at Quonset Pt., Rhode Island.

In 1964 came an assignment to the Naval Air Station in New York for LCDR Richard DeMontbreun to conduct the supervisory Training and Administration of three ASW Squadrons for monthly weekend warrior training. This was truly a respite from his busy career with time in the big city during the World’s Fair and to see Carol Channing in her Broadway Classic, “Hello Dolly”.

But after learning significant computer technology that he used to develop his Meteorology thesis, Richard wanted a career with IBM. And in 1966 he obtained a release from active duty and took a job at IBM’s Space Systems Center in Huntsville, AL.

He conducted post flight evaluation of IBM’s Instrument Unit which controlled all functions of each Saturn V orbital flight. He developed new technology to examine telemetry data to ensure no guidance and control deviations had occurred from 3-sigma boundaries allowed in the system designed by IBM.

He was given special recognition for this achievement.
And during this time, since leaving active Naval Service, he became a weekend warrior, himself, with assignment to VP-674 Patrol Squadron at NAS Atlanta, GA. and qualified as a Patrol Plane Commander in P2V Neptune Aircraft. In 1971 he served as the Executive Officer of the Naval Air Reserve Maintenance Unit for VP-674. He received a promotion to Commander (CDR) in 1972.

While with IBM, things were changing. Saturn V post flight evaluation personnel were being moved to the Houston Space Center. He requested a transfer to IBM’s Data Processing Division to remain near his family in Tennessee. He was allowed to transfer to the IBM Office in Nashville, TN as a Systems Engineer in 1974. He completed a 25-year career with IBM when he retired in 1991.

Wilbur was preceded in death by his parents; daughter, Diane Eagar; brother, James A. DeMontbreun, Jr; and twin brother, William B. DeMontbreun.

He is survived by his son, Richard DeMonbreun; his daughter, Rebekah Cook; his sister, Mae Helen (Carl) Diamond; nieces and nephews, James (James) DeMontbreun IlI, Abby (James) DeMontbreun Pamela (William) Johnson, Buddy (MaeHelen) Jones, Jr, David (MaeHelen) Jones, and Debbie (MaeHelen) Vanderpool.

Wilbur was a Methodist in his youth as a member of City Road Methodist Church in Madison, TN and while at many Navy locations. He joined the Baptist Church in Milton, Fla and was a member of College Heights Baptist in Gallatin since returning to Nashville.

Wilbur was a member of the Timothe’ de Montbrun Heritage Society and Sons of the American Revolution.

He was a kind and devoted husband with a sincere heart, a loving father, brother, and friend. He dedicated his life and hard work to provide for his family and will be sorely missed by his son, his daughter, and 7 grandchildren.

Visitation will be held on Friday, August 18th, from 4 pm to 8 pm at Phillips-Robinson Funeral Home, 2707 Gallatin Pike, Nashville, TN 37216, and Saturday, August 19th from 9 am until his funeral service at 9:30 am.


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