Thomas G. Bee

Air Force General

Brig. Gen. Thomas G. Bee, 79, a retired Air Force fighter pilot, died of prostate cancer Sept. 10 at his home in Warrenton.

Gen. Bee was born in Pittsburgh and graduated from high school in Pennsboro, W.Va. During World War II, he was a Navy pilot. He received his undergraduate degree in aeronautical engineering from Purdue University and was commissioned a second lieutenant through the Army ROTC program when he graduated in 1948.

From 1948 to 1950, he was a pilot with United Airlines and then was called to active duty with the Air Force. After training as a jet fighter pilot, he completed 175 combat missions over Korea.

He returned to the United States in 1953 and served as a jet qualification instructor and aide-de-camp with the 3700th Military Training Wing at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio. He also worked as an instructor at Williams Air Force Base in Arizona and as director of academic training with the 4530th Combat Crew Training Group. He received a master's degree in business administration from George Washington University in 1961.

He served with the Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards Air Force Base in California before being transferred to Air Force headquarters in 1963. He worked in the office of the deputy chief of staff for research and development.

He flew combat operations in Vietnam from 1967 to 1968 and later was assigned to Headquarters Air Force Systems Command at Andrews Air Force Base. In 1971, he became assistant for requirements, development and acquisition programming in the office of the deputy chief of staff for research and development.

Promoted to general in 1974, he was the Air Force auditor general and commander of the Air Force Audit Agency from 1974 to 1976. He was deputy chief of staff and comptroller for Air Force Systems Command until his retirement in 1977.

His military decorations included a Silver Star, Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, Distinguished Flying Cross with one oak leaf cluster and a Bronze Star with one oak leaf cluster.

Before he retired from the Air Force, Gen. Bee's favorite hobby was building and racing sports cars. He and his wife also raised and trained thoroughbred racehorses.

Survivors include his wife of 50 years, Donna Bee of Warrenton; four daughters, Linda Bee of Freedom, Pa., Carol Bee-Latty of Chevy Chase, Lorie Balkom of Apopka, Fla., and Karen van Leer of Sudbury, Mass.; and five grandchildren.

Esther Halstead


Esther Blanche Faison Halstead, 89, who worked more than 30 years in the Arlington County public school system before retiring as a media specialist in the mid-1970s, died of congestive heart failure Aug. 31 at the Goodwin House retirement community in Baileys Crossroads.

Mrs. Halstead spent most of her career as a librarian and media specialist, and she also taught at Arlington's Drew Elementary School in the late 1940s.

At Goodwin House, she volunteered as a librarian and thrift shop clerk.

Mrs. Halstead, who had lived in Arlington since 1946, was a native of Emporia, Va. She graduated from what is now Virginia State University, where she also received a master's degree in education.

She was a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, the Arlington Retired Teachers Association, the American Association of University Women and Episcopal Church Women.

She was a former member of Meade Episcopal Church and most recently a member of Grace Episcopal Church, both in Alexandria.

Her husband of 60 years, Clarence Halstead, died in 1997.

Survivors include a son, Perry Halstead of East Point, Ga.; a brother; two granddaughters; and three great-grandchildren.

Thomas G. Bee was a Navy pilot in World War II and later served as a jet fighter pilot in the Air Force.