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US Air Force


Gary P. Colsch

July 18, 1940 ~ May 5, 2019 (age 78)

Gary P. Colsch, 78, of Shalimar, passed away peacefully on May 5, 2019 after a short, brave battle with cancer.

Gary was born and raised on an Iowa farm near the Mississippi River. He is a graduate of Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa.

Gary joined the Air Force in 1963 and traveled throughout the world. He was assigned as a Missile Launch Officer in West Germany. In Southeast Asia, he was navigator to C-124 and C-141 cargo planes and C-130 gunship. He was honored to be on the flight crew for the returned Apollo 13 astronauts from US Samoa to Honolulu to reunite with their families. Later he was stationed in West Germany as a Weapons Systems Officer on the F-4 Phantom and then an Air Liaison Officer embedded with the army. Gary retired with the rank of Major at Eglin Air Base in 1984.

Gary worked as a night clerk at a hotel and cottages in Destin and volunteered with the local swim teams. He stayed active in his neighborhood, being President of the community association and working as an election judge. He enjoyed working in his yard and maintaining the local park. He loved to do daily crossword puzzles and road tripping the country to see relatives and friends.

He is survived by his son Michael Colsch (Andrea), brother John Colsch, many nieces and nephews, and close circle of friends. He is proceeded in death by his loving wife Patricia, his parents, and brothers Cecil and Gerald.

A Memorial Service for Gary Colsch will be held Wednesday, May 15th at 2pm. Visitation will begin at noon at Emerald Coast Funeral Home, 161 Racetrack Road NW, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32547. Gary is to be cremated and his interment will be private at Barrancas National Cemetery.

Per Gary’s wishes, it is requested that in lieu of flowers, a donation can be made to the charity of one’s choice.

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