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Obituary: Eugene Garges National Hero

After a long illness, Eugene W. Garges passed away at his home in Manhasset on July 17, 2011 at the age of 92. Eugene was born in Bryan, Texas on Sept. 27, 1918 and was raised in New Jersey. Eugene’s lifelong love of aviation and engineering led him to a distinguished military career as a Major in the United States Air Force. He enlisted in the United States military at the age of 21 as a college student. After serving his country in World War II, he participated in the Berlin Air Lift providing food and other necessities to civilians in Germany. In recognition of his critical service in the Berlin Air Lift, Eugene received the Federal Republic of Germany Friendship Award. One of Eugene’s proudest and most rewarding achievements was his service as a Flight Instructor to the Tuskegee Airmen. He was invited to the White House and received a commendation from the White House for his efforts with the Tuskegee pilots. He also received numerous other Air Force medals and decorations both from the United States Government and the former Governor of the State of New York, Mario Cuomo.

After leaving the Air Force, Eugene was a pilot and Captain for Eastern Airlines from 1947 to 1978. After his retirement from Eastern Airlines, Eugene remained actively involved in community affairs in Long Island. Eugene was a true national hero and treasure and a proud part of the generation which helped secure freedom throughout the world.

Eugene passed away with his devoted wife Catherine by his side. He was pre-deceased by his daughter Barbara Garges Lalis and sister Rosalind Watlington. He is survived by his brother Jeff Garges, sister Marguerite White, and step-family Cathy and John DeFelice, Chris and Vinny Sama and step-grandchildren Christine and Michael Sama.

Funeral services were held on July 21, 2011 in Manhasset at the Community Reformed Church. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the Hospice Care Network in his memory.