With deep and heavy sadness, we report that Reo Clinton Trail, age 96, passed away peacefully with his loving son at his side on Friday, January 19, 2018. Originally from Wyoming, after living and traveling all over the world as a military officer, he had been a resident of Colorado Springs for the last 47 years.
Reo was born on October 2, 1921 to Charlie Trail and Dottie (Gordon) Trail in Upton, Wyoming. As a young child, Reo fell in love with flight, and watched every plane that flew overhead with awe and fascination. Reo volunteered during WWII, and became a Private in the U.S. Army Air Corp. In 1942, he received his Silver Wings and C-47 Aircraft Pilot Certificate, and was assigned as a 64th Troop Carrier in Europe and North Africa, dropping paratroopers and supplies behind enemy lines. Among many others, Reo flew General Eisenhower, General Patton, and General Eaker, who said he had never flown with a pilot in whom he had more confidence. Throughout his long and decorated career, Reo completed certification to fly the B-17, B-24, B-25, B-47, C-47, and C-54.
After charming her with poetry, a convertible, and his movie-star good looks, Reo married Martha Lou Bothwell in Caldwell, Kansas on September 8, 1949. She expertly assumed the challenges of being a military spouse, and was an asset to his long and successful military career.
Reo received a degree in history from the George Washington University in Washington, DC in 1951.
In 1970, Reo and his family settled in Colorado Springs, where he retired as a Colonel. He was a member of the First United Methodist Church and the Antique Car Club.
Reo loved to fly, restore antique automobiles, and read a wide variety of books, but especially history books and Westerns. He could fix almost anything, sweet talk almost anyone, and befriend any child or animal. He was a natty dresser, wonderful story-teller, and a great dancer. He hated Chevrolets, snakes, sheep, and light beer. He loved a good joke, coffee, donuts, Chivas Regal, margaritas, Fords, and great music. But most of all, he loved his family, his friends, and the great outdoors.
He is survived by his wife; sister, Wilma Trail Japp; children: William (Elsa), Julia (Jeffrey), and Cathleen (Andy), eight grandchildren: Shawn, Kimberly, Christina, Jason, Aidan, Grace, Kellan, and Ian; and two great-grandchildren, Natalie, and Taliah.
We will miss his sense of humor, curiosity, kindness, and the twinkle in his blue eyes. The family would especially like to thank the staff at Sunrise Senior Living Center for their love and tenderness to him in his final years.
A funeral service will be held from 10:00-11:00 a.m. on Saturday, January 27, 2018 at First United Methodist Church in Colorado Springs. Inurnment will be held at 1:00 p.m. on the same day at Shrine of Remembrance Mausoleum. A reception will be held following the ceremonies.
In lieu of flowers, please check the air pressure in your tires, give a child a donut, wink at a stranger, and love your life. He would have wanted that.