Vergil Calvin Givens, 94, passed away peacefully in Saratoga, surrounded by his loved ones. Vergil, one of four children, was born in Milton, West Virginia, to William Wiley and Lalah (Lovett) Givens. After graduating from Union High School at age 16, he attended West Virginia Tech before entering the United States Military Academy, where he graduated in 1945. Vergil served as a USAF fighter pilot in the Philippine Islands and Japan from 1945-8 before returning to the US and getting his Masters in Mechanical Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. While there he met Janet Louise Eckert who was attending nearby Russell Sage College and they married in 1951. After a brief stint at Wright Patterson AFB, they moved to Edwards AFB in Southern California, where Vergil was an experimental flight test pilot during the "Right Stuff" era. He was the Project Control Officer and Test Director for the Lockheed F-104, in which he was the second pilot to break Mach 2. He joined Lockheed Aircraft Corporation in Burbank as a civilian test pilot before joining the Lockheed Missile & Space Company in Sunnyvale in 1960. After retiring from Lockheed Vergil continued to work in the aerospace industry.
Vergil and Janet lived in Saratoga for 60 years, with the exception of a memorable four year residence in Germany. Verg loved nature, camping, skiing, ballroom dancing, remodeling and travel. He was a devoted husband to Janet, who passed away in 2018, weeks shy of their 68th wedding anniversary. He is sorely missed by his children: Carolyn, Steven, Christine, Kathryn and Nancy; his eight grandchildren and five great grandchildren, and his beloved dog Bosco. The family is grateful for the care from Kaya Torrales and Nada Obradovic.
A Celebration of Life will take place at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, November 17, 2019 at the Saratoga Foothill Club, 20399 Park Place, Saratoga CA 95070. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF.org), the National Accreta Foundation (www.preventaccreta.org), or your favorite charity.
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