Lt. Col. Felix L."Sam" Sambogna, USAF retired, passed away on September 24, 2021. He was born in Manchester, CT in 1931 and graduated from Trinity College in Hartford, CT in 1953.
He is survived by four children: Michael Sambogna and Ron Watterson of Dallas, Texas; Nancy and Michael Shoults of Destin, FL; Patricia and Michael Hardiman of Destin, FL; Felix Jr. and Karen Sambogna of Alpharetta GA; and eight grandchildren: Whitley (wife Rosey), Erin (husband Andy), Samantha (husband Ben), David, Hannah, Jordan, Grace, and Ryan, and four great grandchildren Addison, Alden, Rylan, and Sterling.
He served 29 years in the USAF as a command pilot, squadron commander, deputy base commander, and staff officer. Overseas assignments included Japan, Thailand, Korea, and Vietnam. After retiring from the USAF, he was employed by Oklahoma State University (OSU) and worked for 17 years at the OSU Field Office on Eglin AFB. After retirement from OSU, he performed as a volunteer for the Guardian ad Litem program for 16 years as an advocate for abused and/or neglected children. Felix was a member of the Air Commando Association (past president), Military Officers Association of America, Air Force Association, the Order of the Daedalians, and Saint Mary's Catholic Church.
Granddad Sam loved his family, his country, and the Air Force. His children and grandchildren were the joys of his life. He also loved tennis, racquetball, the NY Yankees and Notre Dame Football.
He was a force of strength, unconditional love and humility that will be forever missed by his family. Peace be with you dad.
A funeral mass will be at 10:30 AM on Friday, October 15, 2021 at St. Mary Catholic Church in Fort Walton Beach. Arrangements are being handled by McLaughlin Mortuary. He will be cremated and inurned at Beal Memorial Cemetery following the mass.
Donations may be made to the Air Commando Association, Hospice or American Cancer Society.
Published in Northwest Florida Daily News
"Sam was a constant from the first time I walked into the HQ ACA building. A buddy with John Grove, he had his heart in Appalachian relief efforts, Bless the Children global charities, the John Grove School support, a zillion shipments of goods and medical supplies that went all over our hemisphere as well as supporting Christmas Wish while it endured and supporting fresh water projects in Thailand that started years ago by SOF forces during the SEA conflict. Sam provided steady leadership/management of the McCoskrie Threshold Foundation until its termination this year. He was an inspiration to all of us and a challenge for each of us to run as well as we can, as far and fast as we can for just as long as we can. I will miss that bright light."
"Sam was one of the good guys — a big heart, a true listener, and giving friend to so many."
"What a blessing and an honor to know and work with him. Always a kind word! Hope next time we are all together we can hoist an adult beverage to him."
"I’m truly saddened to hear this. I always looked forward to chatting with Sam at St. Mary's Church and we always looked for each other after Mass. I really enjoyed our little chats. We will miss him and he and the family are in my prayers."
"I am also heartbroken to hear this sad news. Sam was so selfless.. involved in so many charities that he never spoke about… just doing things for the greater good and not for the recognition.
He was truly the “Quiet Professional” working in the background, making things happen for the Annual Memorial Ceremony at the Hurlburt Field Airpark. He will be sorely missed! My prayers for his family."
--Heather L. Bueter
"Thank you for informing me of Sam's passing. I cherish the memories of the many times I spent with him. He was always a joy to be with and will be long remembered; not only for what he accomplished, but more importantly for the man he was. RIP Sam, fly high."
"Truly, a good man. Always had the ACA at heart"
"So sorry to hear this. Sam was everywhere doing everything at the few Reunions that I have attended. ANY TIME, ANY PLACE"
"Sorry to hear that news. I few with at Ben Hoa in 1969 & 1970. He was truly a historical fighter pilot."
--R. Wayne Moorhead, Lt. Colonel, USAF
"So sad. Another stalwart will be very much missed."