ST. ALBANS – Lt. Ret. Hester Roland Pilkenton (Buddy), born on September 9, 1925, passed away January 28, 2020.
He recently lived in Port Charlotte, Fla., the past four years since his wife Jane passed. He previously enjoyed the snowbird life, with winters in Orlando, Fla., and summer on Lake Champlain for almost 30 years.
He was part of the silent generation, joining the Navy at a young age, finding himself serving in the gunnerball of a B-17 Bomber over Okinowa at the end of WWII with aircraft carrier Oriskany. He served for 28 years including Korean, Vietnam wars. He was stationed on numerous Naval air bases – the Intrepid and Forrestal – as a helicopter/aircraft mechanic and pilot. He then worked for 12 years in civil service, which included drafting aircraft tool boxes at QED. He was a proud life member of the VFW, including taking part in the half-time presentation for Super Bowl 2005 in Jacksonville, Fla.
Born in a small town – Franklinville, N.C. – to Fred Harvey and Nina Mae Hudson Pilkenton, the second child of seven, he was predeceased by sisters Florene, Azaleigh, brothers Donald, Fred (Sonny). He has surviving sisters Shirley (Richard) Hall and Marcia (Ted) Dry.
He was married to two months shy of 60 years to Jane Elizabeth Walsh. They met at a wedding in St. Albans, Vt. He has four surviving children, Linda Seglem, Mike Pilkenton, Jill Snapp, Ellen Taylor, five grandchildren Stephanie Taylor, Julie Seglem, James Taylor, Dylan Snapp, and Vincent (Buddy) Coppola, and great-granddaughters Josephine (Josie) and newly born Elizabeth (Libby) Coppola.
A Military Honor Burial will be held, and will include Jane, on February 28 2020 at 1:30 p.m. at Sarasota National Cemetery and a Family Memorial to be held this summer at the family “Camp” on Lake Champlain.