Arthur A. “Buster” Pingolt, 90, of Staunton passed away at 7:05 a.m., Wednesday, April 20, 2016, at his daughter’s residence in Holiday Shores (Edwardsville).
He was born April 24, 1925, in Staunton, the son of the late John and Ann (Wilzok) Pingolt. He married Agnes A. (Imhoff) Pingolt of Murphysboro on June 7, 1947; she survives.
After graduating from high school in 1942, at age 17 Mr. Pingolt enlisted in the U.S. Marines and participated in three campaigns. During the battle of Okinawa, his company was obliterated and he sustained a gunshot wound; subsequently, he received the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star Medal for “heroic achievements.” As a member of Task Force 81, he participated in the initial landing and occupation of the Tokyo Bay Area on Aug. 21, 1945, two days before the Armistice was signed on the U.S.S. Missouri. After discharge, while attending Southern Illinois University, he served in the U.S. National Guard at Murphysboro. During the Korean War, he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and was later commissioned. During the Kennedy administration, he was the chief of administration for the assistant secretary of defense; for that service, he was awarded the Secretary of Defense Badge and received personal letters of commendation from the assistant secretary of defense and the secretary of the Air Force. During the Vietnam War, he served as a distribution officer of flight information publications (FLIPS) to the 5th Air Force. In his final military assignment, he served as the wing executive officer for the base commander at Scott Air Force Base. He retired after 23 years of active duty and had attained the rank of lieutenant colonel. After military retirement in 1971, he taught school in the local area, mostly at St. Michael’s Catholic School in Staunton.
He was a member of St. Michael’s Catholic Church of Staunton, the Legion of Mary, Staunton Knights of Columbus #2197, Staunton VFW Post #1241 and the U.S. Marine Raider Association.
In addition to his wife, surviving are three daughters, Mary (husband Mike) Yost of Mt. Olive, Sally (husband Dennis) Fritsche of Sandwich and Sheila (husband Dave) Peters of Holiday Shores (Edwardsville); three sons, Andrew (wife Nina) Pingolt of Staunton, Eric (wife Lisa) Pingolt of Carlinville and Arthur (wife Jennifer) Pingolt of Charleston, S.C.; 14 grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; a sister, Pat Vesper of Staunton; and four nephews, Robert Vesper, Philip Vesper, Jack Vesper and Mark Vesper.
He was preceded in death by his parents; two sons, John Pingolt and Joseph Pingolt; a sister, Gloria Pingolt; and two grandsons, Adam A. James and Andrew Best.
Private family services were held Monday, April 25, at Williamson Funeral Home, Staunton, with Rev. George Radosevich officiating. Burial was at Memorial Park Cemetery, Staunton.
Memorials may be made to St. Michael’s Catholic School in Staunton or to the Military Honor Flight program.