Football

Arthur R. Wargo

April 28, 1927 ~ October 27, 2021 (age 94)

Obituary Image

Obituary

On October 27th, 2021, the 94-year story of Arthur R. "Art, Archie" Wargo came to its conclusion. Art put down his coffee, put on his porkpie hat, and left this chronicle behind on the table for us to read. It's the tale of a husband, father, teacher, athlete, coach, house painter, mayor, philanthropist, and public servant who touched countless lives.

The story begins in Milford, Connecticut in the year 1927. On April 28th, A fourth son was born to Hungarian immigrants Frank and Theresa Wargo. Despite growing up in the Great Depression, the good-natured (if maybe a bit rascally) youngster kept himself busy playing sports, hiking with his father, and visiting with all his extended family in the Hungarian neighborhood, or as he liked to call it, "Hunkie Town."

After graduating from Milford High School in 1944, Art served his country as a Corporal in the US Army Air Corps during World War II. After the war ended, Art returned to his education, majoring in Psychology at the University of Bridgeport.  While a student, he met and fell in love with a lovely young lady, Patricia Ellen "Pat" Sherwood. Spoiler alert: It's the same lady he stayed married to for 69 years.

After marrying Pat in 1951, Art became a father the next year when his first daughter was born, and as the family grew, they settled in Milford. In most stories, this would be the culmination: the son of immigrants grows up, serves his country, goes to college, marries, starts a family, and lives the American Dream. But this is just the beginning of the Art Wargo saga, so please read on.

Even though he and Pat had put down roots in Milford to raise their ever-growing family, Art's Gypsy heritage kept him looking for just the right career.  He worked a number of jobs, including being a repo agent, insurance salesman, selling laundromats, milkman, and even a Good Humor Man. Then, Art found his true calling.  With four children and a decent job, he felt the pull of what would become his passion: teaching. Despite taking a pay cut, he took a position at Fairfield Country Day school, then eventually Milford High School teaching math and coaching football. Long before it became a term, Art, with his friend Dick Gribko, started a "side hustle" painting houses in the summer, something he continued for his entire career. But, more about painting houses later.

For years, Art taught, coached, and painted houses while their family continued to grow. Then, like all good stories, things took a twist. Deciding that they wanted to raise their children in a more rural environment than the rapidly-growing city, Art and Pat packed up their six children, various dogs, cats, and other pets into a VW mini bus and moved to the village of Middleburgh, New York. A town Art had encountered during his travels as a salesman, it was for them the perfect place to live, and became their true home for the rest of their lives.  He took a job teaching Math at Middleburgh Central School, and they bought a large house on Main Street to accommodate their kids (soon to be seven), pets, and always-changing garden.

Art happily settled into his role as teacher and football coach, as well as an organizer of the teachers' union at MCS.  Always active in the community, he joined Pat in becoming a member of the local ambulance corps, MEVAC, and did the usual "dad" things, working with scouting, helping with school events, weeding the garden, and (as always) painting houses in the summer with his fellow teachers and eventually a number of his children in what his oldest son, Rich, nicknamed the "Middleburgh Amalgamated Painters' Union" (MAPU).

Once again, the story could end right here, and it would chronicle a wonderfully full life.  But, in the grand Archie Wargo tradition, there's always more to come. After 32 years of teaching multiple generations of students, Art retired in 1989. Not content to just "putter around" in their newly-built house in the village, Art ran for and was elected the Mayor of Middleburgh. Always the pragmatist, and possibly due to a dislike of long meetings, he ran, promising to serve only one term. Despite that, or maybe (as he claimed) because of it, he managed to make several improvements to village life, including a skating rink. After leaving office, he turned his attention to philanthropy and public service by joining Rotary International, where he and Pat worked with their friends and neighbors to make a difference locally and around the world. Art loved Rotary, and even in his later years it was the bright spot of his week.

A fitting title for Art's story should be (with a nod to mathematics) "The equation for a long and happy life." Art lived his life joyfully, loved Pat, his family, community, church, and country. Even during the hardest of times, he kept his sense of humor, and always left an impression on the lives he touched in both big and small ways.  For the rest of his life, students he hadn't seen for decades would encounter him enjoying a meal or walking around the village, stop him, and say, "Hi Mr. Wargo, do you remember me?" He would invariably know their name and greet them warmly. He always had time for others, be it collecting cans and bottles for decades to support a girls' school in Korea, or simply giving a friend a ride to a doctor's appointment.

There's no doubt Art will be missed, but he goes on now to be reunited with Pat, his son Thomas, his three brothers with whom he was always close: Frank and his wife Ann, Paul and his wife Irene, and Luke and his wife Essie. Those of us who remain behind will also miss having him standing beside us, including his children: Linda Wargo of American Canyon, CA, Gail Wargo-Holmes and her husband Ron Holmes of Yakima, WA, Richard Wargo and his wife Rose Mary of Voorheesville, NY, Susan Wargo of Middleburgh, Tom's wife: Terry Ann Wargo of Middleburgh, Robert Wargo of Hudson Falls, NY, Peter Wargo and his wife Chandra of Santa Fe, NM; not to mention his grandchildren: Justin and his wife Megan, Catherine and her husband Hollis, Joseph, Floyd and his wife Cassandra, Braden, and Seraphina, as well as great-grandchildren Floyd and Adelaide.

Art made it clear on several occasions that he did not want people to mourn him. "Cheese and crackers! Don't be sad, I've had a wonderful life with no regrets. Get together, eat good food, maybe sushi, and tell happy stories." In that spirit, a celebration of Art and Pats’ lives together, will be held on Saturday, November 13th at the Our Lady of the Valley Church hall in Middleburgh from 11AM to 2PM. Snacks will be provided, and you're encouraged to come, visit with their family and share stories and relive memories of their time with us.

If you wish to honor Art's love of his community, his family asks that you donate to or volunteer with  one of the organizations he cherished, including Middleburgh Rotary, Box 1100, Middleburgh, NY 12122 and the Middleburgh Emergency Volunteer Ambulance Corps (MEVAC) PO Box 817, Middleburgh, NY 12122

 

Coltrain Funeral Home, LLC of Middleburgh is honored to be caring for Art and his family. 

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Arthur, please visit our floral store.


Services

Visitation
Saturday
November 13, 2021

11:00 AM to 2:00 PM
Our Lady of the Valley
Main St.
Middleburgh, NY 12122

Donations

Middleburgh Rotary Club
PO Box 1100, Middleburgh NY 12122

Middleburgh Emergency Volunteer Ambulance Corp
PO Box 817, NY 12122

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