Wallace “Wally” Edward Fogo, 89, died Saturday, April 15, 2017, at his home at Kendal at Lexington.
Wallace Edward Fogo
Wallace “Wally” Edward Fogo, 89, died Saturday, April 15, 2017, at his home at Kendal at Lexington. With family at his side, he died due to complications of dementia and cancer.
Born in East Liverpool, Ohio, on Aug. 16, 1927, the family was living in Wellsville, Ohio, where Wally spent much of his childhood. The family then moved to the Shaker Heights area of Cleveland where Wally graduated from Shaw High School. He graduated from the University of Maryland with a bachelor of arts and also from the Armed Forces Staff College.
He is survived by his wife of 57 years Dorothy “Dot” Fogo; his children, Paul B. Fogo (wife Elizabeth); grandson Matthew Wallace Fogo; and son Matthew H. Fogo (husband Kevin M. Manning). He is also survived by many nieces and nephews, a brother-in-law and sister-in-law, and many friends. He was preceded in death by his parents, a younger sister and a younger brother.
At the age of 17 he asked his mother to sign papers allowing him to join the Marine Corps. She signed and off he went, beginning what would be a 32-year career in the Marines Corps. Wally’s life took him to many interesting places including China, Brazil, Japan, Hawaii, Korea, Vietnam, and many of the duty stations known well by all Marines.
Wally entered the Marine Corps at the age of 17 in February of 1945. His first duty station was in China. In China, he fought back the Japanese in an effort to keep them from destroying bridges and railroads. His assignment was to guard the railroads. Post China, the Marine Corps took him to Brazil where he was attached to the US Embassy. During his time in Brazil, Wally acted in plays and adopted a Doberman named Fritz. Fritz was flown home stateside courtesy of a ride in the cockpit of a military transport plane and lived with Wally’s parents for the remainder of his life. Post Brazil, Wally attended additional military training and schooling, between Marine Corps Headquarters and Camp LeJeune, N.C. He was then deployed to Korea, his second war, alongside his first cousin. In the Korean War, Wally received a battlefield commission.
Wally met the love of his life, Dot, in 1955 at a good friend’s wedding. Wally was the best man for his fellow Marine and Dot, a registered nurse at the time, was maid-of-honor to her good friend and nursing school classmate. This was Wally and Dot’s first meeting, but fate was sealed. Wally courted Dot for five years and they married on Dec. 5, 1959. At the time, Wally was stationed on an aircraft carrier, the USS WASP, in Boston harbor. He was the Commanding Office of the Marine Corps detachment on the ship.
After serving on the WASP, Wally and Dot relocated to Washington, D.C., where Wally was stationed at Marine Corp Headquarters. During this time, the couple’s son’s Paul and Matt were born. After time in DC, the family moved to Camp LeJeune, N.C., then to Quantico, and then to Camp Pendleton, Calif. At that time, Wally was sent to battle again, this time in Vietnam. He served with the 2nd Battalion, 26th Marines, 5th Division as the Operations Officer to Vietnam fighting in Denang, Phu Bai, and Khe Sanh. Marines say that the most intense fighting of the Vietnam War occurred at Khe Sanh.
He loved serving his country and was well decorated. His decorations included the Bronze Star with Valor (saving fellow soldiers by pulling them from a overturned jeep under enemy fire), Joint Services Commendation Medal, Purple Heart Medal (for wounds suffered in Vietnam), Combat Action Ribbon, Presidential Unit Citation, Navy Unity Commendation, China Service Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, Victory Medal World War 11, National Defense Service Medal, Korean Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, United Nations Service Medal, Korean Presidential Unit Citation, Republic of Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation Gallantry Cross Color with Palm, Republic of Vietnam Campaign with Device, Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Gold Star, Combat Action Ribbon, Letter of Appreciation – Second Award. Most of his time at war, he was on the front lines and he never asked the men he commanded to do anything he would not do himself. Needless to say, Wally served his country proudly. But, he never once bragged about his esteemed service. In fact, his family had to actually research some of this history as Wally rarely spoke of his time spent fighting for his country. His career took him into three conflicts, serving in WW11, Korea, and Vietnam. He loved the Marines. In 1977, after 32 years, he retired as a Lt. Colonel.
Life after the military opened up another interesting and rewarding chapter for Wally. After his retirement, he and his family moved to Lexington. He loved Lexington. In fact, when his family wanted to go on vacation, he’d say “but I live on vacation”. He found his next passion in real estate, eventually owning and operating a Century 21 franchise on Main Street. Many people tell stories of his honest, transparent, and forth-right way of running his business. Stories included helping people with real-estate needs and not charging a fee. Wally owned and managed his office for over 20 years. As the effects of dementia became more apparent, he retired for the second time in his life
Wally loved Lexington and everything about this community, and he enjoyed volunteering and serving many of the civic organizations of Lexington. Wally was a member of the R.E. Lee Memorial Episcopal Church for 37 years, serving on the vestry, the property committee, and as an usher. He was also past President of the Lexington Rotary Club, past Lt. Governor of the Rotary Club, a Paul Harris Fellow recipient (Rotary), was instrumental in securing the building for the Association of Retarded Citizens and was past Vice President of the Association of Retarded Citizens, past President of the Effinger Ruitan Club, past President of the Lexington SPCA, past President of the Board of Realtors, recognized as Realtor of the Year in 2002, and was the flag bearer and led the Lexington Hospice Hustle for 14 consecutive years, and delivered meals weekly to those in need for nearly 20 years. He loved giving back, but he kept quiet most of his volunteer efforts.
For anyone who knew Wally, they knew him as a gentle, kind, and humble man. He accepted everyone and welcomed everyone with a warm smile. He loved his God, his Marine Corps, his Church and community, and his family. Wally liked people and being with people. He never forgot his humble beginnings, thus giving him a sense of community, a sense of duty, and a need to help anyone in need. To be clear, Wally would be embarrassed about listing his accomplishments and activities, as he never talked about himself. But, his family is proud of him and wanted to honor him with this information. Wally loved many things, but his love for his wife Dot was nothing short of inspiring. He’d often say how lucky he was to have her as his wife, partner, and best friend. Wally was a good man, a man that did many good things that even his family will never know about, and will be sadly missed by his family, friends, and the community. Semper Fi, Wally!
The Fogo family would like to thank the care givers, particularly the staff at Kendal, Dianne, and Lexington Hospice for ensuring Wally was comfortable. The family requests donations be made, in memory of Wallace E. Fogo, to either the National Alzheimer’s Association, Lexington Area Hospice, or the Fellowship Fund at Kendal of Lexington.
A celebration of Wally’s life will take place with a memorial service at noon on Saturday, May 6, at the R.E. Lee Memorial Episcopal Church in Lexington followed by a lunch reception at the Lexington Golf and Country Club.