Michael Vargo

Michael Stephen Vargo

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Michael Stephen Vargo (Mike), 91, passed away on December 2, 2020, shortly after his family said their

goodbyes to him via a Zoom call. He passed away at EIRMC due to COVID-19.

Mike was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to his parents Michael Vargo and Anna Karas Vargo. He was the

third of three children. After graduating as valedictorian from high school at St. Francis de Salles in Pittsburgh,

Mike attended the University of Pittsburgh where he graduated with a degree in electrical engineering and

attended graduate schools at the University of Maryland and the University of Pittsburgh. As a young teenager

growing up during WWII and witnessing the sacrifices made by other young men and families, Mike was inspired

to dedicate his career to service and protect his country, community, friends and family as a nuclear engineer. He

was particularly proud of his contribution during his early career to building the first nuclear-powered U.S. Navy

surface vessels, the USS Long Beach missile-cruiser (CGN-9) and the USS Enterprise (CVN-65) aircraft carrier,

and also his work on the USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67), USS Nimitz (CVN-68), USS Dwight D. Eisenhower

(CVN-69), and USS Robert E. Lee (SSBN-601).

While in Washington, DC he met Kay, the love of his life. They were married at St. Stephen’s Catholic Church in

North Carolina and were happily married for 61 years. Mike and Kay moved and started a family while he

continued his work for the Westinghouse-Bettis Atomic Power Division in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In 1970, he

moved his family to Idaho Falls to head the AIW Modification Project at the Naval Reactors Facility for the Atomic

Energy Commission at the NRTS by Westinghouse. Mike enjoyed the environment and community in Idaho

Falls and he chose to stay in Idaho. His career and dedication continued at the Idaho National Energy

Laboratory (INEL) when he finally retired in 1995 overseeing Occupational Safety and Health Act (OHSA) at the

site, the cornerstone legislation for workplace health and safety, and consulting in clean up audits at Three Mile

Island and Rocky Flats.

Mike was a wonderful husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle and friend; he will certainly be missed by all

who knew and loved him. He encouraged the importance of education, hard work, kindness, humility and spent

countless hours teaching and living these values with his family. Mike was an avid golfer, a true baseball fan,

and loved cheering for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Known by his close friends as “The Commish”, he consistently

brought friends together to enjoy life at local golf courses and events and was a proud longtime member of the

Idaho Falls Country Club. After moving to Idaho, his love of the outdoors was shared with his family during all

seasons with golfing, fishing, skiing, hockey, ice skating and camping with frequent trips to Sun Valley, Jackson

Hole, Grand Targhee, Yellowstone and many more National Parks and Forests across the West. He proudly

coached his sons’ baseball teams from T-ball up to American Legion, was active in the Scouts, and coached and

cheered on his children and grandchildren at their various sporting events.

Along with his parents, Mike is preceded in passing by his sisters, Elizabeth Keeney and Josephine

Stempkowski. He was survived by twenty -nine days by his loving wife, Kay Guyer Vargo, and is now survived

by his four children Michael Vargo, Jr., partner Anita Douglas, of Pinedale, Wyoming, Lisa Vargo, husband Troy

Shearer, of Seattle, Washington, Guy Vargo, of Idaho Falls, Idaho and LeAnn Vargo Scalzo, husband David

Scalzo, of Seattle, Washington; two grandchildren, Ariel Adams and Colin Shearer; two step grandchildren, Nick

Scalzo and Luke Scalzo; and his niece, Deb Moreland, husband Jim, of Mars, Pennsylvania, and nephew Mark

Stem, wife Judy, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Due to the impact of COVID-19, a memorial service and reception will be held in the future (hopefully late

summer 2021) when it is safe to do so and the family and friends can gather to celebrate his life along with the

life of his beloved Kay.

For anyone who is not taking the corona virus seriously, the family urges you to please wear a mask, practice

social distancing, wash your hands and limit social gatherings to help prevent any further avoidable deaths. Mike

was dedicated to protecting others and we hope all will be inspired to do the same.

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Doug Muir

Posted at 06:38pm
Mike was a man that I knew for a long time as his oldest son Mike JR was one of my best friends and we are still close friends these 46 years I will miss his Dad a lot wish he was still here like I do my Dad that passed away in 2019.

Mary Zacher

Posted at 11:13am
Dear Vargo Family; In March when the pandemic hit Idaho and Churches were shut down, I was asked if i would call some of the shut in , in our parish . I was assign to Call your Parents Mike and Kay, I would chat with Mike , I could feel his smile through the phone. His love for your mother was so strong always would report on Kay health good day bad day. He would chat about when he was able to get out and golf, and then play pool with the guys. I so enjoyed our phone chats and I was so looking forward to meeting them in person , but God had his own plans. I can not image the loss that is in all of your hearts ; I hope knowing that so many others cared and loved your parents and are praying for you all at this time be a comfort to you. My sincere and deepest sympathy God bless each of you and keep you in his loving hands. Mary Zacher

Kris Post

Posted at 06:04pm
Dear Vargo Family, I am so heartbroken to hear of your parents' passing. Your father, in particular, was a very good friend to my dad. He was without question one of the very nicest men I have ever met. When I was a little girl, I shattered a glass door at the KID TV station while attending one of Guy's baseball games with LeAnn. I was scared to death that I was going to get in so much trouble, but your parents were only worried that I was hurt, and your dad was so sweet. He did NOT tell my dad. During the years that I worked in the pro shop at the Country Club, he would make my day with his friendly, upbeat nature and kind comments. I never saw him in a bad mood. Everyone in the men's league wanted to play with him. In the last year, my mother would run into your parents frequently at the Fairwinds. She told me about how lovingly your dad cared for your mother, and that they were always together... so in love until the end. My heart is with your family, as I can't imagine what a huge loss this is to you. Please know that your parents will be remembered lovingly by myself and all of my brothers and sisters. Peace be with you, Kristi Crocker

Lisa Vargo Posted at 11:28pm

Hi Kristi - Thank you so much for your kind words, they are truly appreciated. We were blessed with our parents. Best, Lisa Vargo

LeAnn Vargo Scalzo Posted at 06:35pm

Thank you Kristi - I do remember that time and very grateful that you felt their loving care that day he had you, and throughout the years. Thank you for your kind words. Best, LeAnn Vargo Scalzo

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