`Lieutenant-Commander William Vance Breyfogle Jr US Navy (ret)left this world as he lived his life, proudly and unafraid. He was a true "Mustang," having risen from the enlisted ranks,
After actively fighting Pulmonary Fibrosis for 11 years, he and his love, life, and wife, Kathy Foran, moved to Florida from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to give him and his lungs more time. Outlasting all of the prognosis' life expectancies, Bill passed this Sunday, June 19, on Father’s Day 2022. Days before his passing, he discussed the next phase of his life and how much he was looking forward to seeing his mother and father and talked of his love for the book "Jonathan Livingston Seagull," hoping that the afterlife might resemble the book. He especially was looking forward to haunting us all.
As many Bill fans know, his mega-watt wit, positive attitude, and otherworldly generosity precede him, but the essential piece of Bill's identity was his career in the military.
During his time in the Navy, Bill, a highly decorated officer, served in three major conflicts and several other operations: He was a combat photographer during the Vietnam War, Psychological Operations during the Manuel Noriega conflict, a Forensic photographer on the site of 9/11, both gulf wars, and acted as a lieutenant commander in CENTCOM during the Afghanistan conflict.
His honors include Joint Service Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation x2, Army Commendation Medal, Joint Service Achievement Medal, Navy and Marine Core Achievement Medal x4, Joint Meritorious Unit Award x2, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, Navy Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, Navy & Marine Corps Overseas Service Ribbon Navy Recruiting Service Military Ribbon, Armed Forces Reserve Military Ribbon with Silver Hourglass for 20 years of service.
One shipmate recalls Bill in the act of outstanding leadership and service, earning one such award:
"Bill was an awesome people person. When I took command of the Naval Reserve Office of Information Detachment in Milwaukee, we had only four people assigned to the unit. Bill took on the task of recruiting more and got the job done because of his positive, upbeat personality. When I completed my tour in Milwaukee two years later, we were the "it" unit with 35 people -- impressive turnaround accomplishing extraordinary PAO tasks. Bill earned a Navy Commendation Medal for his PAO leadership -- proud to call him my forever friend who I will miss. "Norris Jones U.S. Navy Capt. (ret).
Of course, Bill led an acclaimed civilian life as well, as a longtime journalist for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, speechwriter for the Wisconsin of Governor, Tommy Thomson, and a Communication Director for the city of Milwaukee.
Finally, Bill's family was his "why," the reason he chose his path and fought so hard for so long. He is survived by the love of his life, his wife, Kathy Foran. His children, Christine Foran, Johanna (Brian) Groene, Matthew (Danielle) Breyfogle, Christopher (Kim) Breyfogle, and Zachary (Cassidy) Breyfogle. His grandchildren: Tyren, Autumn, Madeline, Derek, Nicholas, Gauge, Lily, and Jackson. His sisters are Cecilia Alvidrez, Cindy (Drew) Brendzel, Susan (Paul) Callahan, and sister-in-law Jackie Casper. His Nieces and Nephews: Patrick, Andrew, Erin, and Alex. He is preceded in death by his mother, Alice (nee Ruiz) Breyfogle, and his father, William Vance Breyfogle.
Downing Funeral Home & Cremation Services at 11:am EST, followed by full military honors with a police escort to the National Cemetery at 1:pm EST with luncheon to follow with family.
"A man can never have too much red wine, too many books, or too much ammunition."
― Rudyard Kipling