Charles A. ‘Chuck’ Vehlow
Feb. 10, 1946 — July 8, 2017
Charles A. “Chuck” Vehlow, son of Arthur W. and Eva M. (Winchell) Vehlow,
died peacefully at his home in Scottsdale, Ariz., on July 8, 2017.
and raised in Waukesha, Chuck distinguished himself during a 46-year
career as a military and civilian pilot, aeronautics scholar and
professor, and aerospace executive. As an Army combat pilot, he was
highly skilled and highly decorated, including the Silver Star, three
Distinguished Flying Crosses and the Bronze Star. Of his 1,900 hours of
military flying, 715 were in combat in Vietnam. Chuck also demonstrated
exceptional aeronautics scholarship, first at the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology where he earned a Master of Science degree in
aeronautical engineering, and then at the United States Military
Academy, where he served as an assistant professor of aeronautics.
Additionally, he earned a Master of Business Administration degree from
Long Island University; he also graduated from both the United States
Army War College and the United States Naval War College.
In aerospace companies, Chuck held top positions, including vice
president for the Apache Programs at McDonnell Douglas/Boeing Helicopter
and vice president and general manager of the Boeing Helicopter
Division. In these positions, he was responsible for major defense
aviation programs, including the Apache Longbow, Chinook, Comanche and
As a commercial pilot and flight instructor, Chuck flew over 3,200 hours
in 30 different aircraft and certified 26 private, commercial and
instructor pilots. In recognition of his distinguished career, he was
inducted into the Wisconsin Aviation Hall of Fame in 2014.
Chuck graduated from Waukesha South High School in June 1964, ranking
academically in the top 5 percent of his class. During his senior year,
his school honored him as the top student athlete. Chuck earned eight
varsity letters: two in football, three in volleyball, and three in
tennis. He captained the undefeated football team that was ranked second
in Wisconsin. Chuck engaged in many high school activities, serving as
the president of the Student Council, Kiwanis Key Club and Varsity W
Club. He attended Badger Boys State as the high school’s delegate. In
September 2005, Chuck was inducted into the Waukesha South Wall of Fame.
Chuck’s Army career began when he graduated from the U.S. Military
Academy at West Point in 1968. As a cadet, he served on the prestigious
brigade staff and excelled in two intercollegiate sports: squash and
tennis. The West Point yearbook cited leadership as “his great ability.”
Chuck was married to his wife of 49 years, Kathryn D. (Katy, “Gigi”
Gollwitzer). He was an exemplary role model to their son Peter (Erin)
and to their daughter Martha (Andre). He was the proud Papa to five
grandchildren: Alex, Mackenzie, and Camryn Vehlow, and Madison and
Andrew Dudley. He is also survived by his sister Joanie Vehlow,
sisters-in-law Mary Schaefer and Jackie Bartoli, brother-in-law John
(Sheila) Gollwitzer, other relatives and many friends.
Christian funeral services, with full military honors, will be held at
Shepard of the Desert Lutheran Church, 9590 E. Shea Blvd., Scottsdale,
AZ 85260, on Friday, July 14, at 11 a.m. Interment will be at the United
States Military Academy, West Point, New York.
Memorial contributions may be sent to the Shepard of the Desert Lutheran
Church (see above for address) and/or the American Cancer Society at
N19W24350 Riverwood Drive, Waukesha, WI 53188 (www.cancer.org/donate).
Please designate “prostate cancer research.”