Dedicated to the Preservation of the
U.S. Air Force Helicopter History
Lenote M. “Joe” Vigare, CMSgt, USAF (Retired)August 22, 1930 – May 20, 2011
Chief Master Sgt. (Ret.) Lenote M. (Joe) Vigare, 80, of Fort Walton Beach, FL., passed away at the Fort Walton Beach Hospital on May 20, 2011. Joe was born August 22, 1930 in Monterey Park, CA. He was preceded in death by his mother Anita Wells; and father, James Joseph Vigare.
Chief Master Sgt. Lenote M. Vigare, “Joe” or “Len” to his friends and family, grew up in San Gabriel, CA. As a teenager he enjoyed racing around town in his hot rod and working on cars (he continued to work on cars throughout his adult life) until he joined the U. S. Air Force in 1947. In 1957, he attended U. S. Army jump school and U. S. Navy combat divers course, and became an Air Force Pararescueman or “PJ”. While stationed in Hawaii in 1961, Joe, along with Bill Vargas and Ray McClure, recovered the Discoverer 25. The recovery was the first successful water recovery of a U. S. Satellite. This recovery became the standard for future space flight recovery, including the Apollo program
He served tours in Alaska, Korea, Hawaii, Guam, Scott Air Force Base, and two tours in Vietnam. He was the commandant of the Pararescue School while it was here at Eglin and Chief of the Wing before he retired.
Joe earned numerous awards and decoration, as well as being the MAC Airman for 1961, nominated twice for Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force, and member of the Air Force Primus Club, along with astronauts Grissom and White.
He is survived by his wife of 45 years, Jeanne; daughter, Carla Sanger (Bill); sons, James Vigare of Santa Rosa, CA., and George Vigare of Fort Walton Beach; sister, Barbara Parsons of Manitou Springs, CO.; granddaughter, Celena Sanger of Tampa, FL.; and his three best friends, Mochie, Lady and Trouble, of the Vigare hosehold.
Funeral services will be held at Emerald Coast Funeral Home on Thursday at 10:45 a.m. until noon, with a gathering at the Soundside Hurlburt for loving memories, PJ “stories” and good food. All are invited.
The interment will be held on Friday, May 23, at Barrancas National Cemetery in Pensacola, FL.
The family would like to extend their appreciation to the RAO of Hurlburt Field and the DAV for their graciousness and support for the past several years. We love you.
Joe loved to Improvise, Adapt, Overcome!
We thank our troops for their service to our country.
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