Thomas Claude Collipi (1936 - 2019)

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Thomas Claude Collipi

Thomas Claude Collipi, a long-time resident of Albuquerque, died 23 December 2019. Born in Lowell, Massachusetts January 27th, 1936. He moved to Pomona California as a young child. He was driven to better himself and worked the farms in the area to put himself through a Catholic college preparatory high school. Upon graduation from college, he joined the Air Force as an Aviation Cadet and was subsequently commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant, later earning his wings to become a navigator. He was on the crew that flew into Berlin to recover Francis Gary Powers in the 1962 prison exchange. He was assigned to locations around the world, including Ramstein, Germany, Fairborn, OH, Clark AFB in the Philippines and was a diplomat at the US Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia. Ultimately, he was assigned as the Chief of Staff of the Air Force Test and Evaluation Command (AFOTEC), at Kirtland Airforce Base, where he retired as a Colonel after 27 years of distinguished service. After retirement, he had a vibrant 2nd career working in the defense industry with companies such as ASI and DRC. When he finally retired for good, he enjoyed running, reading and tinkering with his Mac computers. He is survived by Suzanne Swan Collipi, his wife of 60 years, his son Thomas Tilden Collipi, his daughter Helen Holley Collipi- Gonzales, 6 grandchildren and one great grandchild.

Published in Albuquerque Journal from Jan. 5 to Jan. 6, 2020
bullet U.S. Air Force
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