Cover photo for Sylvester L. Vaeth's Obituary
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1929 Sylvester L. Vaeth 2024

Sylvester L. Vaeth

September 11, 1929 — January 10, 2024

Colonial Heights

Lt. Col. Sylvester L. (Sam) Vaeth, USAF (Ret.) was born September 11, 1929 in Baltimore, Maryland.  Sam, grew up in Pikesville, Maryland where he gained notoriety as an all-star baseball player for Loyola, a local high school and played on semi-professional teams in the area.  After graduating from Loyola College in 1951, he entered the United States Air Force where he served with distinction as a fighter pilot for 22 years. 

His loving wife of 61 years, Martha (Pat) Cate pre-deceased him in 2017.  He is survived by three children; Robert David of Columbia, SC and wife Cheryl; Gregory Benjamin of Richmond, VA and wife Anne; and Kathleen Diana Blanco, formerly of Colonial Heights, and husband (Jim) of Manassas, VA.  He also survived by five grandchildren; Matthew Vaeth (Susann) of Norway, Jason Vaeth (Victoria) of Columbia, SC, Emily Stolle (Ross) of Virginia Beach, Gregory Benjamin Vaeth of Washington, DC, and Dylan Joshua Blanco of Manassas, VA as well as three great grands: Lukas, Lena Faye and Samuel Vaeth.  He is also survived by a brother, Martin of Loganville, GA and a sister, Mary Ellen Miller of Millersville, MD.

Col Vaeth earned the Distinguished Flying Cross with V Device, the Bronze Star Medal, Air Medal with 10 oak leaf clusters, Meritorious Service Metal with OLC and several other awards and decorations while serving a combat tour in Vietnam in 1967.  He flew 89 combat missions in Vietnam, 37 over North Vietnam.  He also earned several meritorious performance and service awards during his military career.  He was a Life Member of the Air Force Association, The Military Officer’s Association of American, The F-86 Sabre Pilot’s Association., and American Legion.  He retired from the Air Force in 1973.

He had a second career with the Commonwealth of Virginia, serving in various technical and management positions.  He retired again in 1986, but continued to work on occasional projects as a consultant for the Department of Personnel and Training.

The family will receive friends for a visitation from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, January 14, 2024, at the Colonial Heights Chapel of the E. Alvin Small Funeral Homes & Crematory, 2033 Boulevard Colonial Heights, VA 23834. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to St. John’s Catholic Church, 7310 Squirrel Level Rd, Dinwiddie, VA 23805.

Col Vaeth will be buried beside his wife, in Arlington National Cemetery at a later date, with full military honors.

To send flowers to the family in memory of Sylvester L. Vaeth, please visit our flower store.

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Arlington National Cemetery

1 Memorial Ave, Arlington, VA 22211

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Sunday, January 14, 2024

1:00 - 3:00 pm (Eastern time)

E Alvin Small Funeral Homes and Crematory - Colonial Heights

2033 Boulevard, Colonial Heights, VA 23834

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