Cover photo for Leslie D. Pruitt, Lt. Col. (Retired) USAF's Obituary
Leslie D. Pruitt, Lt. Col. (Retired) USAF Profile Photo
1932 Leslie 2022

Leslie D. Pruitt, Lt. Col. (Retired) USAF

August 6, 1932 — October 6, 2022


Leslie Delbert Pruitt (Les) passed away peacefully on October 6, 2022, at the age of 90. Les was born on August 6, 1932, in Montello, Nevada; a small town fifty miles away from other small towns. He was educated in the local school through high school, graduating in a class of five.

From there he attended the United States Military Academy at West Point graduating in the class of 1955. He then joined the U.S. Air Force serving in several different positions until entering and graduating from the USAF Test Pilot School at Edwards AFB. He was an active Test Pilot until 1967. From 1967 to 1968 he served in Vietnam as a reconnaissance pilot flying 252 missions. He then served as a briefing officer for the PACAF Commander in Hawaii – a tour he and his family loved. He returned to Kirtland AFB until his retirement. Following his military career, he had a small business and worked for many years in the insurance industry.

He is preceded in death by his parents Elizabeth and Delbert Pruitt, and his older brother Robert. He is survived by his younger brother Dee, and by Denise, his wife of 65 years. His surviving family includes 3 daughters; Kathryn Carter, Dawn Ripley (and David), and Sarah Knee (and Danny); 5 grandchildren, Jordan Knee (and Diana), Caitlin Carter, Taylor Ripley, Collin Knee and Evan Carter; and 2 great grandchildren, Aubrey Elder and Weston Knee.

Les enjoyed athletics, participating in many different sports. He competed and excelled in the game of Squash but enjoyed Racquetball and Tennis as well. In his retirement, he became an avid golfer. He was a critical thinker, but also had a wonderful sense of humor. He loved reading Louis L’Amour books and traveling and camping throughout the Southwest with Denise. Les spent many active and joyous years following and supporting his children and grandchildren in all their endeavors.

Les was a remarkable man from simple beginnings, from outdoor plumbing to the edge of Space. He was always a humble, loving leader and taught the value of honesty and integrity. He will be greatly missed.

A Rosary and Memorial Service will take place on Thursday, October 27th at 5:30 pm at Daniels Family Funeral, Wyoming Chapel; 7601 Wyoming Blvd NE. Burial will follow with full Military Honors on Friday, October 28th at 10:00 am at Santa Fe National Cemetery. Donations may be made in Les’ honor to St. Jude Children’s Hospital or Wounded Warriors Project charities.

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Service Schedule

Past Services

Rosary & Memorial Service

Thursday, October 27, 2022

5:30 - 8:00 pm (Mountain time)

Daniels Family Funeral Services - Wyoming Chapel

7601 Wyoming Blvd, Albuquerque, NM 87109

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Friday, October 28, 2022

10:00 - 11:00 am (Mountain time)

Santa Fe National Cemetery

501 N Guadalupe St, Santa Fe, NM 87501

w/ Full Military Honors

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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