In MemoryPosted: February 14, 2018
February 14, 2018
My readers will have noticed that I did not post a blog last week. That was because the office of The Helicon Group was closed due to the death of Vito T. Vella, the father of founding Partner, Carolyn M. Vella.
I want to say a little about him, which includes a bit about CI.
Vito was also my father-in-law, and essentially my father for longer than my natural father. He was one of the hardest working people I have ever met.
He was born in 1921 in Utica, NY, the son of Sicilian immigrants. He joined the US Army during World War II as an enlisted man, serving in Europe, Africa, and the Indian subcontinent. After the war, he joined the newly-created US Air Force, where he retired as a Colonel after over 20 years. During his service he received the Legion of Merit and was awarded the Oak Leaf Cluster to it on his retirement. He always told us that they were for “keeping all of the numbers in neat columns”. But, among his assignments was work with the USAF’s then-infant computer operations.
Dad then worked for an additional 16 years with Honeywell’s Federal Systems (computer) operations.
After a second retirement, he did not stop. He quickly volunteered to do a “little book-keeping” at a local hospital’s gift shop. Years later, after over 10,000 hours of work with several hospital groups, he was recognized as Tennessee’s Hospital Volunteer of the Year. He was also very active with the Catholic Church locally, including managing the ushers and rising to senior ranks in the Knights of Columbus.
Several years ago, after putting together everything from texts he gave us from his studies at the War College (for advanced accounting?), to where he went during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and from recollections of having a “red phone” in quarters (for emergency multiplications?) to stories of where he served during the war, Carolyn asked, “You were in intelligence, weren’t you?” He said yes, and suggested Carolyn’s deep interest and important activity in competitive intelligence might just be related to that. (VBG)
CI owes a debt to Col. Vito T. Vella, USAF (ret.).