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Info Sheet/Obituary - Major Nat Rathbun O'Day
Died 8 August 2023 - comments


Fort Worth – Nat Rathbun O’Day (Lt. Col. U.S. Army, Retired), beloved husband, father, and grandfather, passed away on August 8, 2023.
Memorial Service: Thursday August 24, 2023, at 2:00 p.m., Arlington Heights United Methodist Church, 4200 Camp Bowie Blvd., Fort Worth, Texas. Reception at the church immediately following the service.
Memorials: Memorial gifts may be made to ACH Child and Family Services, 3712 Wichita Street, Fort Worth, Texas 76119,, or a charity of choice.
Nat was born September 27, 1930, in Longview, Washington to Ina Brashier and Nat Smith. He had two older sisters, Helen Lou Smith and Patti O’Day Woodruff.
Nat spent 20 years of his life serving in the U.S. Army, achieving the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He served in various cities in the United States as well as in South Viet Nam, Korea, Japan, and Germany. During his military career, Nat was a parachutist and a senior Army aviator who flew a variety of airplanes and helicopters, often testing experimental battle field surveillance equipment that is now standard equipment. An aviation highlight for Nat was ferrying a flight of 18 DeHavilland Caribou airplanes to Viet Nam over the Pacific Ocean. His last assignment in the Signal Corp was as operations officer for the long-haul communications system for 52 sites across the world. While in the service, Nat earned his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland and his master’s degree from the University of Southern California. Upon his retirement from the U.S. Army, Nat worked for the City of Fort Worth for over 25 years in the Planning Department and Finance Department. He was referred to as “Mr. City Hall” for his ability to get things done.
Nat was married to the love of his life, Lynn, and they enjoyed over 60 years of marriage. They raised their three children, Robin, Steve and Tim, in North Richland Hills where they were active in the community. Not only was Nat dedicated to his country and a valued employee to the City of Fort Worth, he was a well-known community volunteer. He and Lynn shared a love of music and volunteered countless hours to the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra and the Van Cliburn Piano Competition. For many years Nat volunteered weekly at Bass Performance Hall giving tours and sharing his extensive knowledge about the beautiful hall. He also volunteered weekly at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport helping visitors navigate the airport, and at the Amon Carter Museum as a docent sharing his interest in Remington and Russell. Nat also dedicated his time to Cook Children’s Hospital for several years where he was named Volunteer of the Year. Especially meaningful to Nat was assisting his sister-in-law Congresswoman Kay Granger as the chairman of her military academy nomination board for several years.
Nat could strike up a conversation with anyone about any topic. He reminisced fondly about flying and shared his love of airplanes and helicopters with his family. He enjoyed a good nap, jumping in the pool on a hot summer day after mowing the lawn, and quiet times with Lynn working on puzzles while listening to classical music. He was a voracious reader and he almost always knew the final question on Jeopardy. He would often cut out articles from the newspaper that he knew would be of interest to his children and grandchildren and mail them to them to let them know he was thinking of them. But what brought Nat the most joy was serving his country and his community, and being a devoted husband, father and grandfather.
Survivors: Nat was preceded in death by his beloved wife Lynn. He is survived by his daughter Robin Dettmer, son Steve O’Day, son Tim O’Day and wife Tammy; grandchildren Kelly Dettmer, Michael Dettmer and Kyrah O’Day; as well as nieces, nephews, extended family members and friends.


Comments from Nat from phoncon on 10 August 2018:

Nat said there were initially 28 Majors in the unit, mostly Signal Corps. He flew down to Vung Tau to assemble the aircraft, put blades on etc. Before Nam he flew an old Sikorski helicopter older than the H34. The Huey was like a Cadillac. Went to Ft Hauchica flew fixed wings. He was in Avionics Maintenance. Used to get together with all his Signal Corp buddies for a long time till they all died.