CHATTANOOGA (WRCB)- Funeral services will be held Friday for retired USAF Col. Roger Ingvalson, who died Saturday in Chattanooga at the age of 83. Since moving to Chattanooga in the 1970s, the Minnesota native founded and directed Chattanooga Prison Ministries, later renamed Prison Prevention Ministries. He was awarded the Silver Star for gallantry in action, and was the 1986 recipient of the Liberty Bell Award presented by the Chattanooga Bar Association. He was profiled in the Veterans History Project in 2003 by WRCB and Erlanger Hospital, and his story is archived in the Library of Congress. His story can be viewed here: http://lcweb2.loc.gov/diglib/vhp/story/loc.natlib.afc2001001.09773/
His other awards include the Legion of Merit for exceptional meritorious conduct, three Distinguished Flying Crosses for extraordinary achievement in aerial flight, two Bronze Stars for heroic achievement; two Purple Hearts for wounds received in action, and seven Air Medals.
He also received the Sertoma Service To Mankind Award, the Sertoma National Heritage Award, and the Valley Forge Freedom's Foundation Award for outstanding service.
According to his biography, when Col. Ingvalson was shot down over North Vietnam on May 28, 1968, he was already a veteran pilot, with nearly twenty years in the Air Force and over 100 missions flown in Vietnam. He spent his 40th birthday in captivity and wound up at the notorious Hanoi Hilton. He kept his mind busy by studying insects and by communicating with his fellow prisoners through special codes. And he kept his North Vietnamese captors at bay by feeding them false information. He attributed his ability to survive five years of deprivation and isolation to his religious faith.
Funeral arrangements from Heritage Funeral Home: A celebration of his life and God's grace will be held at 1:00 PM Friday December 30, 2011 at First Presbyterian Church with with Ben Haden and Rev. Chris Ehlers officiating. Grandsons will serve as pallbearers. Interment will follow at Chattanooga National Cemetery with full military honors. The family will receive friends at noon at the church on Friday, as well as Thursday evening from 5 – 8 PM at Heritage Funeral Home, 7454 E. Brainerd Road, Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Here is the complete obituary:
Roger Dean Ingvalson, Col. (Ret.) USAF, 83, of Chattanooga, passed away on December 24, 2011. Born in the farming community of Blooming Prairie, MN on June 20, 1928, he was preceded in death by his parents, Bennie and Ida Hanson Ingvalson, his first wife, Jackie, three sisters and two brothers. He is survived by his wife of 38 years, Booncy, and four sons: Mike Fullam (Dawn), Cleveland, TN; Craig Ingvalson (Katy), Chattanooga, TN; Mark Fullam (Nancy), Rising Fawn, GA; and Gary Fullam (Melissa), Atlanta, GA; and seven grandchildren, Wayne Fullam, Cadet Haden Fullam, Cadet Jay P. Fullam, Ben Ingvalson, Maggie Ingvalson, Grace Fullam, and Eliason Fullam.
Roger joined the Air Force in 1950, becoming a pilot and flying the top fighter jets of the 1950's and 60's. In early 1968, he was called to combat duty with orders to fly 100 missions over North Vietnam. On May 28, 1968, his 87th mission, he was shot down by enemy fire and taken prisoner of war, where he remained until March of 1973. Upon his return in 1973, he married his best friend's widow, Booncy, uniting the two Air Force families, and moving to Chattanooga, TN. in 1976. His Air Force decorations include the Silver Star, the Legion of Merit, three Distinguished Flying Crosses, two Bronze Stars, two Purple Hearts, and seven Air Medals. In 1981, he started Chattanooga Prison Ministries, now Prison and Prevention Ministries.
He was active in several civic organizations; Boards of Directors for Bethel Bible Village, Goodwill, Salvation Army and Bonny Oaks Foundation, and was active on the Chattanooga Armed Forces Committee, Chattanooga Downtown Rotary, and Christian Businessmen's Committee. He and his wife have been long time members of First Presbyterian Church where he was a ruling elder. Raised in a church all his life, he turned his life over to his personal Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, in 1968. Since that day, his life's actions and decisions were guided by that act. He was a man who successfully blended military bravery and heroism with a gentle, compassionate heart for every person he met. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Prison and Prevention Ministries, Changed Lives, World Missions of First Presbyterian Church, or Siskin Children's Institute.