Michael Byron Larkin, 66, passed away suddenly on Memorial Day, May 26, 2014 at his home in England.
Mike was born in Mobile, Alabama on April 12, 1948 and was raised in Pensacola, Florida and later Tallahassee. He attended Sewanee Military Academy preparatory school and received a B.S. from Florida State University in 1970 where he was a member of Phi Kappa Alpha fraternity and the ROTC program.
Mike was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force where he became a highly decorated fighter pilot. Mike’s first assignment was flying F-4 Phantom fighter jets in nightly missions over Vietnam where he participated in Operation Linebacker. Mike was twice awarded the Air Force’s prestigious Distinguished Flying Cross for acts of heroism. Mike was stationed in Germany for 6 years. He flew F-4s at Hahn AFB and was one of only two pilots selected in the entire European theater to fly the first group of F-15 Eagles.
Upon his return to the States, Mike was stationed at Holloman AFB where he became the F-15 demonstrator pilot flying air shows throughout the U.S. thrilling crowds with extreme high gravity force maneuvers. He later flew the F-16 Falcon. Mike retired from the Air Force as a Colonel in 1992.
Mike settled in Camilla, Georgia, leading a successful career running a car dealership for 10 years. Mike was also able to pursue his lifelong passions of hunting, fishing, archeology and herpetology. He has been on safaris to Africa and Alaska, and maintained rare, captive-bred Galapagos Tortoises, which were a treat for first-time visitors to his family home. Mike also served in leadership roles with Community Network Services, supporting delivery of advanced telecommunications and internet services in several South Georgia counties. Mike was appointed City Manager of Camilla where he implemented a number of improvements to city government operations.
Following retirement, Mike divided his time between Sewanee, Tennessee and Homington parish near the city of Salisbury in England. While people will certainly remember Mike for his achievements, what really brings smiles to our faces is recalling his unique personality traits like his encyclopedic memory of history and nature, and his humorous, acerbic wit. Mike is the son of Elizabeth McDavid Larkin and Col. Jeptha (“Jim”) Love Larkin both deceased. Mike is survived by: his spouse, Susie Brettmann; Matt and Amber, son and daughter of Barbara Robinson; Justin, Annabelle and Dylan, sons and daughter of Suzanne Crow; his brother, Robert Jeptha Larkin; and two sisters, Stephanie Shelnutt and Debby Coleman. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to Wounded Warriors Project. Family and friends are invited to attend a graveside memorial service at 3 p.m. on June 21st at Shelfer Cemetery on Highway 12A in Havana, Florida.