Commander (Ret.) Robert Huntley Pidgeon, 84, of Middlebury
MIDDLEBURY — Commander (Ret.) Robert Huntley Pidgeon, 84, left us peacefully on Dec. 30, 2020, at Helen Porter Rehabilitation and Nursing, Middlebury, Vt., after months of declining health. His wife of 40 years, Sandra, was with him.
Robert was born May 15, 1936, son of Helen (Huntley) and Theodore Pidgeon in New Haven, Vt. He grew up on the family farm with brother, David, and sister Linda. He graduated as valedictorian of the 1954 class at Beeman Academy. Soon after he entered the U.S. Naval Academy, in Annapolis, Md., graduated in 1958 with high honors and was awarded his diploma by President Eisenhower. He began his Naval career achieving the rank of Commander. He was a graduate of the Naval War College, Newport, R.I., and received his master’s degree from the Naval Nuclear School, Monterey, Calif.
His tours of duty took him to many parts in the Pacific. During the Vietnam War, he was honored to be assigned to Admiral Zumwalt in Saigon, crafting plans for withdrawal of Naval Forces from the war. He also served as Captain of the U.S.S. Turner Joy in the Gulf of Tonkin. The Turner Joy is credited with firing the last naval round of the War in January 1973.
Following his retirement, he married his high school sweetheart, Sandra Tucker, who survives him, as well as four stepchildren: Jill, Brian, Kevin and Matthew and their families; his brother, David of New Haven, Vt., his sister Linda and husband, Howard Kelton, of East Middlebury, Vt., his nephew, Karl Kelton, of Middlebury, Vt.; niece Tricia Kelton and husband Alan Parent, and their son Marcel of Sneads Ferry, N.C.; wonderful friend Frank Kurek of Westford, Vt.; and numerous cousins. Besides his parents, he was predeceased by his sister Jean in 1938.
His family will remember his strength of character, quick wit, ability to find humor in daily life and challenging times, his kind heart, and dedication and service to his country.
We thank the staff at Helen Porter Rehabilitation and Nursing for the wonderful care and compassion they gave him.
Per his wishes, Robert will return to the U.S. Naval Academy for his military funeral service and inurnment in the Naval Academy Columbarium near his classmate, Senator John McCain. ◊
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