Ira D. Triplett, Sr. thumbnail

Ira D. Triplett, Sr.

October 28, 1930 - February 21, 2016

Ira David Triplett, sr., age 85, passed away on Sunday, February 21, 2016 at his home in

Newport News, Virginia with family by his side. He was born in 1930 in Butler, Tennessee to

the late John Franklin Triplett and Sarah Elizabeth (Hicks) Triplett. Ira married Charlene Kyte

of Butler, Tennessee in 1959 at Hagerstown, Maryland. They were happily married

for 56 years. He was passionate about his faith and devoted to his family.


Ira was drafted in the US Army in 1952 to support the Korean War and went on to have a

distinguished 20 year career. His military service was indicative of his life: a passion for

learning. His started out as a heavy equipment dispatcher, transitioned to a heavy vehicle

driver, converted to a combat medic, and finished his career as a helicopter crew chief. He

served overseas assignments in Germany, Greenland, Hawaii, Italy, Korea, Okinawa, and

three tours in Vietnam where he earned two Air Medals for over 50 aerial missions in hostile

territory in support of counterinsurgency operations. From 1969 to 1971, he served as Chief

Electrical Engineer in President Richard Nixon’s Presidential Flight Detachment, Army One

and retired as a Sergeant First Class in 1972 at Fort Eustis, Virginia.


Ira began his second career in civil service at the Naval Air Rework Facility in Norfolk, Virginia

as an electrician on A-6 and F-14 aircraft after retiring from the military. He left civil service

after 14 years in 1986 in pursuit of his entrepreneurial spirit. In 1986, he became self-employed

and opened Big John’s CB (Citizens Band) Sales, which operated in several locations in

Newport News, Gloucester, and Fredericksburg, Virginia. Ira sold CB radios, car boom boxes

and stereo equipment at their peaks of popularity in the 1980s for a generation of customers in

competition against big-box stores in the local area. Ira finally retired in 1995 but remained

busy and connected to his expanding but displaced family by traveling across the United

States to visit his sons John in Missouri and Shawn on various Army assignments.

Ira was a family man from humble beginnings in the mountains of Tennessee that demanded a

hard work ethic and pursuit of higher learning from his children and grand-children. His mantra

to “get a job, get an education, or join the military” will forever be passed down to future

generations. He will forever be remembered for his love of family, strong will, and generosity to



Ira was preceded in death by his parents: John Franklin Triplett and Sarah Elizabeth Triplett;

his brothers: Robert Triplett, Dewie and Henry Hicks; and his sisters: Ada Waycaster and

Roxie. Ira is survived by his children: Ira David Triplett, Jr. and wife Retha (Duffield) of Butler,

Tennessee; John Triplett and wife Tammy (Hicks) of Kirksville, Missouri; Shawn Triplett and

wife Isabella (Edwards) of Tucson, Arizona; and Pamela Raines and husband Michael Raines

of Newport News, Virginia; his grandchildren: Jordan, Deirdre, Ivan, Kyle, Kayla, Meghan, and

Jacob; his great-grandchildren: Loki, Bradley, Jayce, and Jayden; and many nieces, nephews,

and other relatives.


The burial will occur in private at Kyte Cemetery on Friday, June 24th at a time to be

determined later.  Ira was an avid animal lover and active member of the local American Society for the

Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) at 523 J. Clyde Morris Blvd in Newport News,

Virginia. He adopted his three dogs, Baby, Shannon, and a beagle named Hugo, from local

shelters. In lieu of flowers, Ira Triplett requested memorial donations be made to the ASPCA


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