Col. Robert E. Stoffey
Col. Robert E. Stoffey, 83, died on Thursday, July 5, in Carlsbad, Calif., of Parkinson's Disease, caused by Agent Orange sprayed on him in Vietnam.
He married Eleanor R. (Dedinsky) Stoffey on Thanksgiving Day, 1960, at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City, N.Y. They were married for more than 57 years.
Born in Coaldale, he was a son of the late John and Anna (Gavala) Stoffey.
He was an outstanding football player at the former Coaldale High School, where he graduated in 1953, after which time he graduated from the Pennsylvania State University with an engineering degree.
He then entered the U.S. Naval Aviation Cadet program in Pensacola, Fla.
Col. Stoffey served a quarter of a century as a Marine Corps aviator, having served in multiple capacities, including during the Cuban Missile Crisis, as well as 440 combat missions in North Vietnam, where he was shot down twice.
He served a total of three combat tours in Vietnam as both a pilot and forward air controller. His many personal decorations include two Distinguished Flying Crosses, the Naval Medal for Personal Heroism, the Bronze Star, as well as numerous Air Medals.
His final assignment in the Marine Corps was as Commanding Officer of the OV-10 Bronco Squadron, VMO-2, at Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton.
Col. Stoffey was the author of two best-selling books: "Cleared Hot" and "Fighting to Leave," both of which relate to his more than 25 years of service as a Marine Corps officer.
"Bob," as many called him, was not only a book writer and incredible story teller, but an amazing artist. Much of his art had sold over the years. He loved painting, reading and playing his saxophone, but, most of all, spending time with his family, who loved him so much.
Surviving in addition to his widow are a daughter, Monica Lopez of Vista, Calif.; two sons, Robert in Minnesota and Edward of Oceanside, Calif.; a brother William of Toms River, N.J.; two grandchildren, Nostacia, who married Thomas Verrow on July 13, 2018, and Trevor, both of Vista; a nephew and two nieces.
He was also preceded in death by a brother John, who died in 2017.
Service: Burial and Celebration of Life, including a Roman Catholic Mass, will take place in San Diego County, Calif. The viewing will be from 4-8 p.m. Thursday, July 19, and the burial will take place at 10 a.m. on Friday, July 20, in the Eternal Hills Memorial Park, Mortuary & Crematory, 1999 El Camino Real, Oceanside.
Published in Times News on July 19, 2018