July 3, 1998

Albert “Sonny” Awagain, brother of Ruth Guzzetta of Berwick and Kirby Awagain of Lake Charles, died at his Fairfax, Va., home on June 8 after a long battle with esophageal cancer, exactly one month before his 73rd birthday. The Blue and Gray Post 8469, Veterans of Foreign Wars in Fairfax, of which he was a member, conducted a farewell tribute during the visitation at Everly Funeral Home on June 9. Many of his VFW comrades were present for this ceremony and for his funeral the next day. He was buried with military honors at Fairfax City Cemetery.

Sonny had been a member of VFW Blue and Gray Post 8469 since 1994 and attended nearly every VFW function until he entered the hospital with cancer in March. He served as the Post chaplain and members remember him for his resonant renditions of the opening and closing prayers.

Sonny is remembered as a person of many talents – an undercover agent who had
sneaked supplies into Sweden under a false passport with the Army Air Corps during World War II, a Foreign Service Officer who had lived in Europe, the Far East, the Middle East and Latin America as part of his four decades with the State Department. He was a superb storyteller with a wry sense of humor, and a friend to everyone who knew him.

He was born July 8, 1925, in ElDorado, Ark., but lived his early life in Berwick and graduated from high school in Morgan City. He worked briefly building ships for the Chicago Bridge and Iron Works in Morgan City before enlisting in the Air Corps in 1943. He trained at bases in Texas and California before being sent to England. There, as an engineer in a flight crew, he shuttled supplies secretly into Sweden to help that country save its neutrality and avert its takeover by Germany.

When World War II ended, he joined the Foreign Service and was sent to Sweden, where he learned the language, attended college and met his first wife, Maud. Sweden was the first of his many foreign service assignments, which included India, Malaysia, China, Israel, Mexico and Pakistan. Eventually, Sonny and Maud settled in Fairfax, Va., where she died in 1975.

They had three children who are now Mrs. Ginger Goldman of Ponte Verdra Beach, Fla.: Mrs. Anita Mulholland of Bradenton, Fla.; and Eric Awagain of Lewiston, Maine. There are four grandchildren. In 1981 Sonny married his second wife, Marguerite, who was from Berwick, who had six children. She survives him along with a sister, Mrs. Ruth Guzzetta, and a brother, Kirby Awagain.

The six stepchildren are Dale Martin and Wayne Martin, both of Patterson; Mrs. Patti Kidd of Herndon, Va.; Jack Martin of Berwick; and Mrs. Clair Meranta and Mrs. Mellissa Orgeron, both of Woodbridge, Va. There are 12 step-grandchildren.

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