Louis Charles (Lou) DeFazio
December 31,1944--March 7, 2023
From the time he fashioned rustic model airplanes from wooden orange
crates to his final days instructing pilots how to land on water, Lou DeFazio was
destined to fly. In between, he earned his private pilots license in 1966 after
graduating from Penn State University and promptly enlisted in the United States
Air Force at the height of the Vietnam War. His training ultimately put him in the
front seat of the vaunted F-4 Phantom, an all-weather, supersonic jet
fighter-bomber and deployment to Da Nang Air Base on the coast of the China
Sea. On 6 August 1971 at 1000 hours, Captain DeFazio was scrambled on
“Gunfighter Alert” and directed to a nameless hilltop where badly-outnumbered
U.S. Army and South Vietnamese troops were being overrun by the NVA.For his heroism, Lou was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and later
received a second DFC with Oak Leaf Clusters for a subsequent mission.
He separated from the Air Force in 1972 after which he owned and operated
four full service Fixed Base Operations in his home state of Pennsylvania. Using
the GI Bill, he secured his rotorcraft rating with the U.S. Army Reserves and in
1990 was ordered to Saudi Arabia as part of Operation Desert Shield/Storm. He
received the Army Commendation Medal for meritorious service piloting UH-1
“Hueys” in a Medevac Unit.
After returning stateside, Lou and Fran moved to Tucson where he trained
LearJet pilots on flight simulators. Still passionate about flying, he hired on with
Continental Airlines until the mandatory retirement age of 60 in 2004. Since then,
he and Fran have divided time between Fredericksburg, Texas and Winter
Haven, Florida where for the past two decades Lou has trained countless pilots
of all ages and stages of proficiency.
Lou is survived by his beloved wife of thirty-nine years Frances DeFazio,
sister Tresa, brother Robert, nieces and nephews.
Cremation services provided by Kersey Funeral Home in Auburndale, Florida. An
online condolence registry is available at www.kerseyfuneralhome.com. His
remains will be interred at Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell, Florida.
A “Final Flight” Memorial with military honors will be held on
Thursday,13 April 2023 at 6:00 p.m. DST at the Gillespie County Airport
In lieu of flowers, please consider supporting the Louis C. DeFazio Memorial
Scholarship for youth in aviation sponsored by the
Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) Chapter 1088.
P.O. Box 1996
Fredericksburg, Texas 78624