ABILENE Texas (KTAB/KRBC)- Veteran, Abilene Police Officer, and fierce Veterans services advocate Jimmy David DeFoor passed away June 10th of 2022 at the age of 75. His years of service and dedication to his country, community, and fellow veterans were honored with a memorial service on June 16th.
“He just constantly gave. To the veterans to the community. and never once thought about himself,” says Texas State Veterans Cemetery On Site Land Representative Craig Wooten.
Enlisting in the Navy as a young man, DeFoor served three tours of duty in Vietnam. There he suffered the devastating loss of his brother Victor DeFoor. He later served in the U.S. Army reserve.
“Service meant everything to him. Everything he did was in service to somebody.” Says DeFoor’s oldest son Kevin DeFoor.
Upon returning home DeFoor got married and enrolled in the Abilene Police Academy, rising through the ranks as a Patrolman, Motor Patrol, SWAT team, and bomb squad member, even providing security when presidents Ford and Carter visited the city – a man known for his works all throughout the Big Country.
“As soon as people see my last name they ask me if I’m related to Jimmy. I tell them yes he’s my dad,” says Kevin.
After 21 years of dedicated works, DeFoor retired from the force as a Sergeant Detective with the Criminal Investigation Division, though as his obituary states, “retirement did not agree with Jimmy.”
“He would give the clothes off his back to support those veterans,” Wooten says.
DeFoor volunteered for active duty, training a national police force in Panama, and serving again in operations Desert Storm and Desert shield. He eventually returned to Abilene, taking on the role of director for the Taylor County Veterans Services Office.
“The veterans service office was his love, but the cemetery was his passion,” Kevin says.
Among other passions, DeFoor was instrumental in getting a State Veterans Cemetery established in Abilene, later serving as its caretaker and representative.
“I’ve heard people say that it wouldn’t have happened without him,” says Wooten.
For many years, DeFoor saw to it that no veteran went to their grave alone, rallying local troops to ensure that his brothers and sisters in arms were sent off with honor.
“Although we say they were transferred to heaven, we also know we’re going to miss him down here,” says VFW Post 6873 Chaplain Charlie Bowen.
His family has requested that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the cemetery to fund the completion of his final project – A Vietnam Veterans Memorial. This project meant a lot to DeFoor and many other Big Country Veterans. Donations can be made through the Community Foundation of Abilene.