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Ralph Liberty "Libs" Vatalaro took his last flight on Tuesday, February 18, 2014. He was born on October 23, 1917, in Sacramento, CA. His family moved to Fresno in 1920. He attended Colombia Elementary School, Edison Junior High, and graduated in June 1936 from Fresno High School. Following one year at Fresno Tech Junior College, he spent time working at various jobs in Fresno and Mare Island Naval Repair Facility in Vallejo, CA. In June 1943 he enlisted in the US Army Air Corps Aviation Cadet pilot training program. After completing training, he received his pilot wings and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in November 1944. He was assigned to B-17 combat flying when World War II ended. He separated from the service in March 1946 and returned to Fresno where he entered the US Air Force Reserves. He returned to active duty and became an advanced flying pilot instructor in various single-, multi-, and jet engine aircraft. In 1954, he transferred to the Military Air Transport Service. He was Commander of several Aerial Port Squadrons in Korea, Japan, Iceland, France, and stateside bases. He retired after attaining the rank of Major on January 1, 1968, and earning his wings as a Command Pilot. He was awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal upon retirement for exemplary service. After retirement, he joined the US Coast Guard Auxiliary and served for ten years inspecting pleasure crafts and conducting patrols. Ralph was a member of the Italian Catholic Federation of Fresno, County Sportsman Club, the Military Officers Association of America, and the American Legion, Post 509. Ralph was preceded in death by his wife, Linnea, in April 1984 after 43 years of marriage. Ralph lived life to the fullest, loved to fish, ski, and hunt, and made many great friends in St. Augustine, FL, where he lived his last two years with his daughter and son-in-law. He is survived by his two sons, Ralph Vatalaro and Steve Vatalaro, of Scottsdale, AZ; daughter, Peggy Richardi and her husband George of St. Augustine, FL; grandsons, Mark Vatalaro and his wife Sandy of Scottsdale, AZ, Todd Vatalaro and his wife Angelica of Sacramento, CA, and Nick Vatalaro of San Francisco, CA; and granddaughter, Erika Arnold and her husband Kyle of St. Augustine, FL. A Funeral Service will be held at Whitehurst, Sullivan, Burns & Blair Funeral Home, on Saturday, March 1, 2014 at 10:00 a.m. Interment to follow at St. Peter's Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made to the , 2222 W. Shaw, Fresno, CA. Whitehurst, Sullivan, Burns and Blair Funeral Home, 1525 East Saginaw Way, Fresno, California (559)227-4048
Published in the Fresno Bee on Feb. 27, 2014
Ralph Liberty Vatalaro
Click name above for additional details at:
Arrangements under the direction of:
Whitehurst Sullivan Burns & Blair Funeral Home
1525 East Saginaw | Fresno, CA 937044435 | (559) 227-4048
bullet Air Force bullet Army bullet Coast Guard bullet WWII
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