WILMINGTON — Rufo Manuel Vaquilar, 71, of Wilmington, died Friday, Nov. 11, 2016, at home.
Rufo was born Nov. 18, 1944, in Fresno, California, son of Isabel C. Flores Vaquilar and the late Rufo Valoria Vaquilar. A son, Joseph Wayne Vaquilar, preceded him in death.
Rufo enlisted in the military after college and joined the 5th Special Forces Group at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. It was there that he met his wife, Victoria, and they were married in May 1967.
He did a tour in Vietnam serving with the 5th Special Forces where they were stationed with the Montangards. After returning from Vietnam, Rufo went on to serve as an instructor at the Ranger School in Fort Benning, Georgia. Later in his career, in the Army Reserves, he served as the commanding officer of the 824th Rigger Unit at Fort Bragg as well as the 362nd Quartermaster Battalion in Kinston, N.C. In his civilian life, he served with Personnel Management on Fort Bragg as well as with the City of Lillington.
Rufo was a loving husband, father, son, brother, grandfather, uncle and friend to so many. He was a mentor to so many people, whether he was advising a soldier or teaching a family member important life lessons. He will be greatly missed.
In addition to his mother, he is survived by his loving wife of 50 years, Victoria Ferne Vaquilar; two daughters, Michele Kiger (Chuck) of Wilmington, N.C., and Kimberly Bledsoe (Jody) of New Bern, N.C.; five grandchildren, Jennifer (William), Austin, Samantha, Mallory (Michael), and Kelsey; great-grandson, Rylan; two brothers, Michael Vaquilar (Susan) and Rodney Vaquilar; sister, Andrea Vaquilar; and numerous nieces and nephews.
A funeral service with military honors will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2016, at Andrews Valley Chapel. Prior to the service, the family will receive friends from 1 p.m. until the service hour.
In lieu of flowers, contributions in Rufo’s memory may be made online or by mail to Wounded Warrior Project, P.O. Box 758517, Topeka, KS 66675-8517.