ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – The Abilene community is mourning after the loss of a true Big Country giant for Veterans.

Jimmy David DeFoor passed away Friday, June 10 at 75 years old. A cause of death was not included in his obituary, posted to North’s Funeral Home. DeFoor is survived by his wife of 25 years, Barbara, his four daughters, two sons and many grand and great-grandchildren.

The life & career of Jimmy DeFoor

Born to parents Albert and Estell DeFoor in Jacksonville, Texas on December 5, 1946, the DeFoor family relocated to Abilene while Jimmy was a teenager. He would then go on to attend Cooper High School and serve three tours in Viet Nam with the U.S. Navy.

After serving with the Navy, DeFoor went on to serve for many years in the U.S. Army Reserve.

At the age of 32, he attended the Abilene Police Academy and continued to serve as a patrolman in the motor unit. His family says he loved his motorcycle.

Jimmy DeFoor, via North’s Funeral Home

Within the Abilene Police Department, DeFoor also became a member of the SWAT team and bomb squad. He even helped provide security for Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter when they visited Abilene.

DeFoor was an early advocate for community policing and much, much more. He earned countless awards and other accolades.

In 1990, in his early 40s, DeFoor volunteered for active duty. He was also called to active duty in Kuwait and Iraq during Desert Storm.

DeFoor retired as a Sergeant Detective in the Criminal Investigation Division after 21 years of service. However, it didn’t take.

For 15 years thereafter, DeFoor served as Veteran’s Service Officer, Director of the Taylor County Veteran’s Office and served as an expert in Veteran’s Administration Law.

After retiring as the Veteran’s Service Officer, DeFoor landed the role of Texas Veteran’s Land Board On-Site Representative for the Texas State Veteran’s Cemetery, Abilene. There, he spearheaded an effort to bring a Vet cemetery to the City of Abilene.

DeFoor was often remembered to be passionate about making sure that Veterans and their families were honored properly.

On June 1, 2009 the gates of the Texas State Veterans Cemetery at Abilene were opened- fulfilling DeFoor’s passion project.

For the last time, DeFoor retired so that he could spend time with his family. Until his last breath, he advocated for our Big Country Veterans.

According to his North’s Funeral Home obituary:

One initiative that was very dear to him was the Texas Veteran’s Cemetery Abilene Viet Nam Veteran’s Memorial, currently under construction. He was quoted as saying, “This memorial is pretty special to me, and a lot of other folks here in Abilene, and when it’s finished, we’ll all have a great feeling of accomplishment. I’m not one who likes to just sit around, I like to get involved. This project has given me an opportunity to work with many of the other Vietnam Veterans here in our community. We’ve all been close for many years.” He elegantly continued, “Don’t miss the chance to have ownership in this unique project. Even if you can only donate a few dollars, you can have pride in knowing that you helped build this monument that will bring comfort and solace to so many veterans and their families.”

Memorial service

A memorial service is planned for 9:30 a.m. Thursday, June 16 at St. Paul United Methodist Church.

At 11:00 a.m. Thursday, the U.S. Army, Abilene Police Department and the Masonic Lodge will present a service with honors at DeFoor’s beloved Texas State Veterans Cemetery Pavilion.

Instead of flowers, the DeFoor family requests donations to be made in Jimmy’s name to his passion project. Donations can be made directly on the Community Foundation of Abilene’s website or checks can be sent to the foundation; just write Viet Nam Memorial in the notes section.

Community Foundation of Abilene
P.O. Box 1001
Abilene, TX 79604.

To leave your condolences for the family, click here.

All with Big Country Homepage, KTAB, KRBC and Telemundo Abilene wish the DeFoor family our sincerest condolences and thank Jimmy for his tireless work.