Obituaries

Paul A. Avolese June 12, 1932 – July 7, 1967

Paul A. Avolese age 35, died 20 miles offshore in the South China Sea while conducting a bomb sortie during the Vietnam War. Mr. Avolese is survived by his wife, Marilyn, four children; Natalie, Valerie, Paul and Michael. He also leaves behind nine grandchildren, David, Shannon, Kristen, Kevin, Kaytie, Ryan, Drew, Christian and Caroline. Paul was the youngest of four children born to Sicilian immigrants, Sabastian and Natala Avolese, who planted roots in Jamaica, N.Y., where he was born. Paul and his siblings were the first generation born in America which gave him a great sense of pride. Shortly after graduating John Adams High School, a friend of his was killed in the Korean War and that charted Paul’s course to enlist into the U.S. Air Force. He attended Officer Candidate School where he graduated as a 2 Lieutenant. It was at that time that he began his intensive year-long training at Bombardier Navigator School. He was a veteran of the Vietnam War. Paul served in the Air Force from Jan. 3, 1952 until his death on July 7, 1967. He gave over fifteen years to include two tours flying combat sorties over Vietnam. While lining up for a bomb mission, a radio malfunction occurred in Paul’s B-52 which required pilots from Paul’s plane and another B-52 to do a lead change maneuver that resulted in a mid-air collision between the two B-52’s. Of the thirteen crewdogs aboard both aircraft, six men perished, Paul was one of these men. He was pronounced MIA on July 7, 1967 and after a two-week search and rescue, he was pronounced KIA on July 24, 1967. Paul’s body was never recovered but because of the endless efforts of the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, partial remains were recovered and identified as of Sept. 21, 2020. He met his soulmate, Marilyn Olinger, and they were married in Sacramento, Calif. on Oct. 27, 1956. After moving around with the Air Force and having kids in multiple states, they ended up in Riverside, Calif., stationed at March AFB Strategic Air Command. They decided that this was where they wanted to stay and they were going to retire here and open an Italian restaurant. Maj. Avolese was buried with his soulmate’s ashes (Marilyn Joy Avolese, March 2, 1931 – April 8, 2015) at Springfield Memorial Gardens in Springfield, Ore. on July 24, 2021 with surviving family members and friends in attendance.