Ronald DeCosmo, decorated Air Force colonel

May 30, 2013
Ronald DeCosmo

Lt. Col. (Ret.) Ronald "Ron" Lewis DeCosmo, 74, resident of Lewes and St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, passed away Tuesday, May 28, 2013, surrounded by his loving family. Ron is the son of Anne and Louis DeCosmo and the brother of Geraldine Chrisman and Kenneth DeCosmo.

Born Feb. 17, 1939, in Bronx, N.Y., Ron graduated from Malvern High School in 1956. He married the lovely and beautiful Suzanne Ellen McDonald in 1962. Their 50 years of marriage took them on many adventures.

Ron graduated with one of the first aerospace engineering degrees from Poly Technical Institute of Brooklyn, N.Y. in 1961. He was a distinguished graduate of the U.S. Air Force Officers Training School in 1962. He received his master’s degrees from The Air Force Institute of Technology, Auburn University and The Industrial College of the Armed Forces.

During Ron’s 20 year Air Force career, he worked on space projects MERCURY and GEMINI at Eglin Air Force Base. He then was assigned to Patrick Air Force Base where he worked on the early Apollo missions. Next, he went to the Manned Spaceflight Center supporting Apollo 8's 14 missions.

As part of the flight control team, he and the team were awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom (an award bestowed by the president of the United States bestowed by an act of U.S. Congress - the highest civilian award in the United States).

After working these space missions, he worked on the Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) program, and the family moved again to California where Ron supported the Air Force Inspection and Safety Center. His last assignment was as project manager of the Maverick Missile at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio. After retiring from the Air Force in 1982, he moved his family to Tucson, Ariz. to be program manager of Phoenix and Sparrow missile programs for Hughes Missile Systems.

In 1995, after leaving Hughes Missile Systems, Ron and Sue achieved a longtime dream of owning and operating The Vineyard B&B, Sonoita, Ariz. Ron volunteered as a fireman and dispatcher for Sonoita and was also the governor’s appointee to the Arizona Wine Commission as well as president of the Arizona Wine Growers Association. Ron was a proud Rotarian for 17 years at Sonoita/Patagonia Rotary, St Croix Mid Isle Rotary and Rehoboth Beach Sunrise Club. Ron and Sue fully retired in 2003 to Lewes and St. Croix.

Ron is survived by his wife Suzanne DeCosmo and their three children, Robin (James) Murphy, Michael (Tatjana) DeCosmo and Patrick (Heidi) DeCosmo; and seven grandchildren, Kalie, Fayth, Timothy and Peter Murphy, Alexander, Devin and Serena DeCosmo.

His Memorial Mass will be held at St. Jude the Apostle Catholic Church, Lewes, at 11 a.m., Saturday June 8. Visitation with the family will be from 10 to 11 a.m. Ron’s burial will be at Arlington National Cemetery at a date to be determined.

In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to the Hospice of your choice or your favorite charity.

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