Retired Colonel William T. “Bill” Singleton, of Jacksonville, Arkansas received his final Proceed as Directed orders on Sunday, January 2, 2022. A United States Army veteran who served the military intelligence community for thirty-three years—from World War II, through Korea, and Vietnam—Singleton slipped away quietly in the night, as spooks often do.
Born in Oden, Arkansas on February 22, 1927, to sharecroppers, “Shorty”, as he was then called, was six feet tall and just 150 pounds on his 18th birthday when he went down and enlisted in the army. He lived by the motto: Don’t let the bastards get you down. It was a saying he embraced early on in his career, after a stint in the infantry and completion of Officer Candidate School, when then Captain Singleton found himself on a mission: piloting a boat to a secluded island in the dead of night to drop an intelligence operative behind enemy lines. As the agent went ashore, soldiers emerged from the trees and swarmed the beach. The commanding officer on board spotted the ambush and ordered the young captain to abort the mission. Although they were under heavy fire, Singleton turned the boat toward the island and rescued the agent. Back at the base, he was written up for failure to obey an order and recommended for discharge. Instead, he was awarded the Silver Star—our nation’s third highest award for heroism.
A trained Korean linguist, Singleton saw combat in the Korean Conflict as well as the Vietnam War. He also served as a Counter-Intelligence Officer in Cold War Germany. In addition to the Silver Star, he also was awarded the following: Army Occupation Medal (Japan); World War II Victory Medal; National Defense Service Medal; Korean Service Medal; United Nations Service Medal; Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation; Vietnam Service Medal; Vietnam Campaign Medal with 60 device; Joint Service Commendation Medal; 3 Legion of Merit Medals; and 2 Bronze Star Medals. When he retired from the army in 1978, he was the Deputy Commander of the Army’s Intelligence and Security Command at Fort Meade, Maryland.
Not that you would have known any of that from talking to him. Bill, or Opa as his grandkids called him, was a good listener. He was funny and quick with a joke, but what he did best was get other people to talk. He bought several newspapers each day, read them front to back, and then settled in to work the crossword puzzles. He loved to read—especially John Grisham—and over the years he read so many novels from the base library that he started lightly penciling his initials in the back to ensure he wouldn’t keep checking out the same ones. The bane of his existence were gumballs and squirrels—the latter of which he used his tactical training to stalk from indoors and shoot with Super Soaker water guns to persuade them to evacuate his wife’s birdfeeders. He admitted he was mostly unsuccessful in this endeavor but kept at it because he said he was having fun, and he thought the squirrels were, too.
Bill was preceded in death by his parents, Charles Sherman Singleton and Rose King Singleton;
three sisters: Viola Singleton Roberson, Flossie Singleton, and Mildred Singleton; a brother-in-law, Patrick Dillon, Jr.; a niece, Delois Roberson Minor; and a granddaughter, Jamie Frances Singleton.
Bill’s Relief In Place consists of:
His wife, Mary Frances Dillon Singleton. Although he often joked that if the army had wanted him to have a wife, they’d have issued him one, “Shorty and Stuff”, as they were known at Dumas High School, married on New Year’s Eve, 1948, and were together for seventy-three years.
His children: Thomas R. Singleton (Hobbit); James P. Singleton (Heather); Sherri S. Davenport (Chris).
His grandchildren: Jennifer S. Miller (Darren); Shawn T. Singleton (Julie); Benjamin P. Singleton (Deanna); Justin Davenport; Michael Davenport; Lillee Singleton.
His great-grandchildren: Emmeline Miller; Niko Fallon; Dallas Singleton.
A sister-in-law: Linda Dillon Deverell (Terry).
His great-nieces and special cousin-in-law: Glenda Minor Oden (Gary); Judy Minor Akins (Nick); and Jane Matthews.
Due to Covid, all services will be private. Arrangements by Moore's Jacksonville Funeral Home, 501-982-2136.
The family would like to extend their heartfelt thanks to Dr. Alison Acott, Terry Sikole, ARNP, and the rest of the staff at the John L. McClellan Memorial Veterans Hospital. The family requests donations to either the United Service Organization (USO) at https://www.uso.org/donate/donate-in-honor/?sc=WW14IMOIHO or the charity of your choice.