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Manuel "Del" Odelon Delgado, Jr., son of Manuel Odelon Delgado, Sr., and Lucile Rutledge Delgado, passed away at the age of 85 on January 27, 2014 following a brief illness. Del was born on December 9, 1928 in La Ceiba, Honduras and spent his youth in New Orleans, LA. He was a graduate of St. Aloysius High School and entered Tulane University at the age of 17.
Del was a lifelong sailor, who first found his way on a sailboat after standing on the end of a Southern Yacht Club (SYC) dock until someone took pity on him and brought him aboard as crew. This was the start of a seventy-five year love affair with sailing and the ocean.
In 1948, Mr. Delgado interrupted his education and joined the US Navy. He was trained as a Naval Aviator in Jacksonville, FL and assigned to the U.S.S. Midway, Air Group 4, in which he served in the Korean War. He piloted the F4U-4 "Bug Swacker" Corsair.
While in the Navy, Del married the former Lois M. Villars in 1950, while based at Naval Air Station Coronado, CA. Del was escorted to his wedding on a tuna trawler following a wet landing in the Pacific during a training run. Despite Del's efforts to gain passage to Mazatlan with his newfound crew, they dried him off, dressed him up, and delivered him to Coronado just in time for his wedding and the beginning of his sixty-five year marriage to the new Mrs. Delgado.
LTJG Delgado served in the Navy until December of 1956, when he returned to Tulane University and completed his Bachelors in Business Administration. After graduation, he worked in the cryogenics industry and circumnavigated the globe in search of potential business opportunities.
Returning to New Orleans, he founded Chem Carb CO2 and served the Gulf Coast region until 1994. Del held a United States patent on an innovative pumping system for delivering CO2 to businesses.
Del and his wife retired to Gulf Breeze, FL from 1994 through 2011, when they returned to their beloved hometown of New Orleans. Del remained an avid aviator and sailor outside of the Navy. Throughout his life, Mr. Delgado competed in Luders L-16 class regattas, the most recent of which was the Old Timers Regatta at SYC in summer 2013. He was a member of the Aviation Midshipman Association, the Lite Blue Angels, and was a QB. He belonged to the Sons of 1812. He loved watching the Blue Angels perform and sharing his Naval heritage with his grandchildren.
Mr. Delgado is survived by his beloved wife, Lois Villars Delgado; his brothers Robert and Rutledge; his three loving daughters Celene, Odette, and Lisa; six grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.
A celebration of Del's life is being planned for the SYC this weekend. Details will follow. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation in Pensacola, FL. Donations can be made online, at https://secure.qgiv.com/for/namfcim/, in honor of Lt. Manuel Delgado, USNR. Donations can also be mailed to the National Naval Aviation Museum; c/o Naval Aviation Museum Foundation; 1750 Radford Boulevard, Suite B; NAS Pensacola, FL 32508.
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Published in Pensacola News Journal from Jan. 30 to Feb. 2, 2014