Michael Leroy Warbritton obituary photo
 
In Memory of

Michael Leroy Warbritton

December 15, 1939 - February 20, 2015

Obituary


Michael Leroy Warbritton, born December 15, 1939 in Rodessa, Louisiana,
passed away on February 20, 2015 in Glendale, AZ after a courageous
battle against cancer. He is preceded in death by his parents Alford
T. (Steve) Warbritton and Sarah Geneva Mosley Warbritton, and his
daughter Melissa (Warbritton) Blotz. Michael is survived by his wife
Cynthia Walls Warbritton, and their daughter Stacey Kiefer (Mark), and
grandchildren Vera Jo and Andrew Kiefer; Michael's son James Michael
(Debra), grandson, Aaron (Tanya), granddaughters Amanda Renfro and
Shelby Blotz; his brothers David (Cheryl), Ted (Faye) and many other
nieces and...

Michael Leroy Warbritton, born December 15, 1939 in Rodessa, Louisiana,
passed away on February 20, 2015 in Glendale, AZ after a courageous
battle against cancer. He is preceded in death by his parents Alford
T. (Steve) Warbritton and Sarah Geneva Mosley Warbritton, and his
daughter Melissa (Warbritton) Blotz. Michael is survived by his wife
Cynthia Walls Warbritton, and their daughter Stacey Kiefer (Mark), and
grandchildren Vera Jo and Andrew Kiefer; Michael's son James Michael
(Debra), grandson, Aaron (Tanya), granddaughters Amanda Renfro and
Shelby Blotz; his brothers David (Cheryl), Ted (Faye) and many other
nieces and nephews, family members, and friends.

Michael grew up in Sweetwater, Texas where the family belonged to the
Fundamental Baptist Church of Sweetwater. In 1955 they moved to Fort
Worth, TX for his mother's health care related to breast cancer.

Mike began making model airplanes while attending Boy Scout summer
camps in 1952 and it became a lifelong passion. He was also a standout
musician, playing first trombone in the school band. He played in the
stage band and also a jazz band outside school. He was the Drum Major
senior year, receiving a full college scholarship for music. Mike
graduated Amon Carter High School in 1958.

At a really young and mostly unsophisticated 18 years of age, three
months out of high school, Michael joined the Air Force to "see the
world." After basic training at Lackland AFB in San Antonio, he
attended electronics training at Sheppard AFB at Wichita Falls,
Keesler AFB at Biloxi and Charleston AFB in Charleston. While at
Keesler, he played in the Air Force drum and bugle corps for the base.
His duties eventually included Airborne Radio Repairman and Air
Traffic Controller.

Once when Michael served in the 7th AEMS at Carswell AFB, a SAC base
just west of Fort Worth, he and a buddy were getting a B-52 ready to
go, and a console light meant they had to trace wires along the length
of the aircraft. He recalled, "Both of us had our backs to the bombs
and were facing the outside of the aircraft as we intermittently moved
through the bomb bay. We were almost to the second bomb when we both
turned and faced each other as we seemed to realize at the same moment
we were using 10 megaton bombs as back rests while we worked. Those
were the days!"

While serving, he married Betty Sparks in 1961 and had two children.
James Michael Warbritton was born on the afternoon of March 1, 1962.
Mike's mother passed away from cancer in the same hospital that
morning. Michael's beloved daughter Melissa was born in 1963 and,
unfortunately also passed away much too young from sudden cardiac
arrest in 1997.

In 1966, Michael spent a tour at Bein Hoa AFB in Vietnam where he
served as radio ground support to U2 surveillance planes flying on
special missions. He survived a mortar attack, spent some R&R in
Okinawa and returned in July of 1967.He attained the rank of AF Senior
Master Sergeant during his 25 year hitch, and he did indeed see the
world with assignments in Vietnam, Guam, and The Azores; and stateside
in Fort Worth, Little Rock and Oklahoma.

Of his service, Michael said, "What I saw there, what I did there,
what I learned there helped to shape the person I have become. I have
always given the Air Force credit for what I am, personality,
knowledge, growth, etc. I cannot deny it and am intensely proud of the
time I was an active member."

He acquired an undergraduate degree through military correspondence
and completed his career with the Air Force in 1983. He furthered his
education with a Master's degree from North Texas University. He
advanced to studies for a doctorate but decided just shy of his thesis
instead to become a teacher of electronics and computer networking. He
gained the hearts of his students at Eastern Hills HS in Fort Worth, who
still stay in touch to share their accomplishments and thank him for his
support. He made lasting friendships and was respected by faculty
in his role as Dean at Mountain View Community College in Dallas,
where he met Cynthia Walls, in the Health Clinic where she took his
blood pressure a little more often than needed!

The couple married in 1991 and moved east, first to Baltimore, where he again
assumed a Dean's position at Harford County Community College and a stint
at Milford Mill Academy until relocating to renovate an historic Pennsylvania farm,
complete with apple and peach tree orchards and roadside stand. Michael
finally taught at and retired from York County School of Technology in York, PA.

They returned to Texas in 2006 where Michael joined the Knights of
Columbus through his membership at All Saints Catholic Church. During
this time, his model air crafting skills brought him into many rich
relationships with former pilots whom he honored by creating elaborate
mounted displays of their aircraft in context of their time of
service. This avocation eventually led to Michael being invited to
create a model for the Wisconsin National Guard Museum permanent
display honoring Jerome A. Volk, 1LT, USAF, veteran of both World War
II and Korea.

Michael continued his service with the Knights through St. Thomas More
Church when he and Cynthia moved to Arizona in 2011. He also became an
active volunteer with the Retired Activities Office at Luke AFB,
making many friends while celebrating the sheer joy of being able to
once again be close to what made him the man he had become.

So often the journey of cancer can splinter a person's life if not
their spirit, but Michael remained positive and humble until the end.
He continued to cheer his beloved daughter Stacey and grandchildren
Vera-Jo and Andrew, Amanda and Shelby to pursue their dreams,
especially in their studies and regarded them and the rest of his
family as the lights of his life. He was deeply proud of his grandson,
Aaron, who served in the US Marines; continuing today, as a Sergeant
in the Reserves. Michael was excited and looking forward to the
arrival of Shelby's first child and his first great grandson; due in
April.

Above it all, Michael gave credit for the guts and perseverance to
meet the many challenges of living with cancer to one person only:
Cynthia, his wife and his hero. It was difficult for him to have the
tables turned and to need to lean on her for his care, but as they
faced the battle together, their love never wavered.

Arrangements in Arizona by Dignity Chapel of the Chimes; Funeral Mass
at St. Thomas More Catholic Church, Glendale on Friday, 2/27/15,
viewing at 9:30 am, Mass at 10:00, reception following at the
Warbritton home. Arrangements in Texas by Sparkman Hillcrest Funeral
Home & Memorial Park, Funeral Mass at All Saints Catholic Church,
Dallas, and burial at DFW National Cemetery, details TBA. Dignity
Travel Bereavement Benefit is available to help coordinate air travel
at 800-224-4177. Memorials to Fisher House Foundation serving military
families.