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Taps in Reverse Chronological Order (continued)

Agnes E. Vaghi
1915 - 2004

Agnes E. Vaghi (1915-2004), who worked for the War Production Department during WWII, died Tuesday, February 10 at 6:12 P.M., with Commander Vaghi and sons at her side. She was 88 years old and a longtime resident of Kensington, Maryland. A favorite story Agnes enjoyed telling her friends involved a "double" blind date in 1946. However, there was a problem. Agnes was attracted to her girlfriend's date, a handsome sailor, just back from the war. That was quickly resolved the following day when Agnes met with Joe Vaghi, the young lieutenant commander from Bethel, Connecticut. Joe and Agnes began their courtship and married February 15, 1947. 6th Naval Beach Battalion Commander Eugene Carusi was in attendance for the Vaghi wedding.

Received from Msgr. Peter J. Vaghi

Agnes E. Vaghi, 88, writer and civic activist, died at Suburban Hospital on February 10, 2004 of complications from a stroke. She had lived in Kensington, Maryland for 52 years.

Born in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, She worked as an Information Specialist at the War Production Board during WWII. In 1946, she was detailed to the Senate Small Business Committee as Information Specialist. As a freelance writer, she subsequently was published in the Washington Post, the Evening Star and wrote a weekly column in the Montgomery County Sentinel in the early sixties entitled "Status Housewife," which focused on approximately 50 women who were involved in activities outside the home. In addition, she wrote a personal article entitled "The Immigrant Boy" about her father who emigrated from Sicily to the United States.

She was a founding member of the National Italian American Foundation and secretary of that board from 1992-1997. A scholarship of the Foundation is named in her honor for the education of undergraduate Italian American woman.

She and her husband architect Joseph P. Vaghi, Jr. were co-chairs of the Cardinal's Appeal for the Archdiocese of Washington in 1987. She was a charter member of the Board of Directors of the Summer Opera Theater Company at The Catholic University of America and served as secretary for six years. She was appointed by President Clinton for a six-year term to the Board of Trustees of the Christopher Columbus Foundation.

She attended Mount Aloysius Academy in Cresson, PA and earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania where she received the Distinguished Alumni Award in June 1997.

She was Lady of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem and received the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice award in 1991 from Pope John Paul II.

Survivors include her husband of 57 years, Joseph P. Vaghi, Jr; four sons, Msgr. Peter J. Vaghi, Pastor of St. Patrick Church in Washington, Vincent J. Vaghi, M.D. of Potomac, Mr. Nino R. Vaghi of Bethesda and Joseph P. Vaghi III of Potomac, a sister Nina Biederman, two daughters-in-law, Jeanne Barbara Vaghi and Mary Burns Vaghi and six grandchildren.

Gene Cook
1926 - 2004


It is with GREAT sorrow that I inform you that Mr. Eugene Cook passed away Wednesday, February 4th while staying at Kettering Memorial Hospital. He was 78 years old, a WWII veteran, a great husband and father, and I personally believe to have been about the kindest person who has ever walked the face of this planet. He will be missed by many.

If any of you are from the Dayton area, or if not and still wish to send flowers, funeral services will be held on Monday, February 9th between the hours of 12:30 pm to 2:00 pm. Services will begin at 2:00 and last for approximately 45-55 minutes. Interment following at Woodland Cemetery. The location for both the viewing and services will be at Newcomer-Farley Funeral Home, located at 3940 Kettering Blvd., Kettering Ohio.

I'm very sorry to have to inform everyone by way of E-Mail, however, I know of no other method of contacting everyone on this list. All I have to go by is Gene's address book which is in his Yahoo account. I know this is hitting everyone kind of hard … probably about as hard as it is to type this message. Trust me, these are the hardest words I've ever written, and I hope never to have to do this again for anyone else, but Mr. Cook was someone special to me, and when a family member asked me to do this for him, I couldn't refuse.

I'm sorry, everyone, for having to tell you such heartbreaking news …


Carl R. Merritt

Bob Moore
1924 - 2004

Dear Mr. Davey-

I am writing to let you know about the passing of my father, Bob Moore. Dad died on August 23rd, two weeks shy of his 80th birthday.

He was so proud to have served his country but did not speak much about it until the last few years. I know he enjoyed talking to you about the war and making the tapes of his memories. Some months ago he talked of coming to the reunion in Peoria but that wasn't to be. Would you pass the word on to the Sixth Beach Battalion organization and let them know Dad was so proud to have served with them. He had some great memories (both sad and funny) of their time together.

He leaves a family that was so lucky to have him as a husband, dad, granddad and great-granddad. We all miss him very much.


Melissa Moore

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Dear Melissa:

Sorry to hear that your dad, Robert H. Moore, SM 3/c, passed away August 23, 2004. I talked with him on the phone several months ago about doing an interview for the History Channel. He said his wheelchair would prevent him from traveling to NYC but he planned to attend the reunion in Peoria. Three of your dads shipmates died this year, just missing the 60th Anniversary of D-Day.

You might be aware that my father died in 1948, two days after my first birthday. Bob remembered (and audio-taped) many stories about Dr. Russ Davey in the UK which I will forever cherish. Your dad will certainly be remembered with Dr. Davey's hundreds of 1944 invasion letters and Naval Beach Battalion history.

As per your request, your announcement will be shared with D-Day veterans and a remembrance will be submitted to the 6th Naval Beach Battalion website.

My condolences to you and your family.

Ken Davey

John Hanley 192 - 2004

Manuel Ray Perez
1920 - 2003

On Feb. 5, 2003, Manuel Ray Perez, 82, of Washington D.C. died following an extended illness. Mr. Perez was born in Central New Mexico and lived in Southern California for many years prior to his move to Connecticut in 1960. He resided in West Haven for several decades before moving to the Soldier's and Airmen's Home, Washington, D.C. in 1994.

During WW II, Mr. Perez fought on Omaha Beach in Normandy during the D-Day Invasion. He served two tours afloat on the USS Charles Badger and USS Ramsay. He also served two working tours in the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the Pentagon. He transferred to the Fleet Reserve in 1960 and retired as a Chief Petty Officer. He worked for the following 25 years in the small arms industry in Connecticut; Winchester, High Standard, and Charter Arms. For several years Mr. Perez was the director of the YMCA's Family camp at Camp Hubinger in East Haven. During the 1980s he was an active member of the American Legion Post 71 in West Haven, serving as commander. During this time he managed the Post's baseball team to several victories.

Mr. Perez is survived by six children: Karren of Branford, Ct, Kevin of Pottstown, Pa., Kathe of Louisville, Co., Kimberlee of Jamaica Plains, Ma., Tom Widmeyer of Santa Cruz, Ca., and Francesca of Los Angeles, Ca. He also leaves his brother Raymond, sister Consuelo, former wife Joan Shannon, 11 grandchildren, and 4 great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by his brother Daniel and sister Tessa.

Funeral services will be held at the Rose Chapel at the Soldier's and Airmen's Home on Febrary 19, 2003. A graveside service will follow at Arlington National Cemetery with the Rev. John Egan officiating.

Fritz Houser
1925 - 2003

Fritz Houser, 78, wounded on D-Day

Francis X. "Fritz" Houser, who won the Purple Heart for wounds he received off Omaha Beach on D-Day, died Thursday, Dec. 29, in Marco Island, Fla. The former Ridgefielder was 78 years old and the husband of Mary Houser, to whom he had been married for 52 years.

On June 6, 1944, Mr. Houser was crewman aboard a naval landing vessel approaching the Normandy shore. "I was talking with the guy standing next to me on the LCI when we hit a teller (water) mine and the explosion killed him," he told an interviewer in 2001. "That's when the war started for me."

A native of Philadelphia, Mr. Houser grew up there and joined the Navy when he was 18, much to the chagrin of his mother and father. "My parents didn't like it when I enlisted, but I knew I had to go," Mr. Houser said.

He became a member of the 6th Naval Beach Battalion that would play an important role in the D-Day landing, a short time after Mr. Houser's 19th birthday.

Though the mine that killed his comrade ripped a hole in the landing craft, the boat continued in and quickly ran into other problems. Anti-aircraft guns "were zeroed in on us from the word go," Mr. Houser told the Marco Island Eagle two years ago. "Small-arms fire and machine-gun fire kept raking the beach."

Mr. Houser was wounded several times in the legs and was rescued before the landing craft sank from the mine and anti-aircraft damage. Many of the soldiers being transported were killed before they could even leave the boat. Mr. Houser was brought to a hospital in England to recuperate. He was later sent to the Pacific Theatre, where he took part in the invasion of Okinawa.

Mr. Houser won the Purple Heart for his injuries, but his battalion's heroism on D-Day went largely unnoticed until 57 years later. President Bush commended Mr. Houser and more than 100 other "Forgotten Sailors" in 2001, presenting them with a unit citation, the Normandy Medal of the Jubilee of Liberty, for their valor at Omaha Beach.

Mr. Houser and his family moved from Philadelphia to Ridgefield in 1962. He had been a photo engraver with Graphic Colorplate in Stamford for many years. The Housers moved to Marco Island in 1984.

Besides his wife Mary of Marco Island, Mr. Houser is survived by two sons, both from Ridgefield: Richard Houser, and Francis Houser Jr. and his wife Mary Jane; and four grandchildren, Jimmy, Danny, Jennifer and Andrew.

Services took place Jan. 2 on Marco Island.

Joseph Wojnowski
192 -2002

Hi Ken,

Thank you so much for thinking of us. It is with a broken heart that I have to tell you that my beloved Pop left us on July 6th. (It's strange how I thought soon afterwards that it was exactly one month after June 6th). He was home with me and just couldn't lick a case of bronchitis that he had always overcome in the past. I certainly wasn't prepared for this outcome. Actually I had quit my job on July 1st (they had offered an early retirement package that took me two minutes to accept) because I wanted to spend all my time with Pop and he was so looking forward to that too. I have wonderful memories of him but it's just not healing this broken heart. I sure do hope Pop found Rickenbock out there.

Thanks for listening.

Eleanor Wojnowski, daughter of Joseph Wojnowski

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