Roger Healey, Jr.
Published 5:56 pm Tuesday, January 31, 2023
Lieutenant Colonel Roger Healey, Jr. passed away peacefully in his home with his loving family by his side on the evening of January 23, 2023, after a long, courageous battle with cancer.
Roger was born in New York City in 1936, the only child of Roger Healey, Sr., and Dorothy Snodgrass. The family moved to upstate NY in 1940, where Roger completed his early schooling. In 1950, Roger entered the Choate School in Wallingford, CT and graduated in 1954. He then earned a BA in History from Yale University in 1958.
He planned to continue his academic career by attending law school, but first had to fulfill his 2-year ROTC commitment as an Army Lieutenant. Roger’s love for the Army had him abandon the idea of law school and instead he served 21 years as a commissioned officer, retiring from the Pentagon in 1980 as a Lieutenant Colonel. A high point was the six years he served as a Special Forces (Green Beret) Officer in the 5th , 7th , and 8th Groups. This included two combat tours in Vietnam including commanding a Special Forces A Detachment who built a new camp at Plei Me in South Vietnam near the Cambodian border in 1963.
He returned to Vietnam in 1968 as the Commander of the 5th Groups’ Logistics Support Center in Nha Trang where he was wounded during a mortar attack. Among his awards and decorations, were the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, the Meritorious Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Air Medal, the Army Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Expert Infantryman Badge, the Master Parachutist Badge, the Pathfinder Badge, as well as the Ranger and Special Forces Tabs. His military career saw deployments to Korea, Vietnam, Panama, and Brazil, where he became fluent in both Spanish and Portuguese.
He also earned his MBA at the University of Texas, graduating with honors as part of the US Army Logistics Officer Program. Roger’s military career was long and distinguished. Roger was always reminded of a quote from the book, “Band of Brothers” by Stephen E. Ambrose, “Grandpa, were you a hero in the war? “No,” I answered, “but I served in a company of heroes.” The humility of the quote sums up the love and adoration those who met Roger felt about him.
Upon his retirement from the military, Roger’s civilian career saw him working as a marketing executive for BMY (now BAE Systems) in York, PA followed by running two historic Bed & Breakfasts: the 1854 House in Wrightsville, PA and Foursquare in Smithfield, VA. Among his warm titles as loving husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, and friend, Roger was also a soldier, businessman, innkeeper, outdoorsman, teacher, and a craftsman. Roger lived an incredibly active life both mentally and physically and enjoyed spending his free time reading, woodworking, discussing military history and collectables as well as doing practically any outdoor activity including hiking, camping, canoeing, caving, hunting, and skeet/target shooting. Up until his passing, Roger was a volunteer at the Isle of Wright County Museum and a trustee of the Virginia War Museum Foundation, where he loved sharing his love of history.
Roger is preceded in death by his first wife Amelia Blake Healey, and second Donna Morningstar Healey. He is survived by his son, James Healey of Charlotte, NC, his daughter, Melanie Healey of Smithfield, VA, six grandchildren and three great grandchildren. Following a local memorial service in Smithfield, VA, he will be interred at Arlington National Cemetery with full honors. Final Service arrangements and times are pending.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Isle of Wight Museum 103 Main Street Smithfield, VA
23430 phone (757) 356-1223 or the Special Forces Association www.specialforcescharitabletrust.org.
Online condolences may be registered at www.littlesfuneralhome.com.