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Nicholas Vogel, WWII fighter pilot, dies at 92

Nicholas C. Vogel, a decorated World War II

Nicholas C. Vogel, a decorated World War II veteran who went on to become a successful accountant, teacher and lawyer, died Aug. 1, 2015 from complications following a fall earlier this year. The Hempstead resident was 92.

Nicholas C. Vogel, a decorated World War II veteran who went on to become a successful accountant, teacher and lawyer, died Aug. 1 from complications following a fall in March. The Hempstead resident was 92.

Vogel, who grew up in Bronxville and graduated from Hempstead High School, had been attending Hofstra College when he enlisted in the Army Air Forces in March 1944. He trained as a pilot, rose to the rank of 2nd lieutenant, and was assigned to the 9th Air Force, 405th Fighter Group, 510th Fighter Squadron.

Vogel flew missions in Northern France, Africa and in Germany. His first mission was in support of Gen. George Patton's troops during the Battle of the Bulge.

His P-47 Thunderbolt was shot down over Düsseldorf, Germany in February 1945, and, after sustaining injuries, he spent three months in a German prison camp. He was liberated in May, and later was awarded the Air Medal and the Purple Heart.

His son, William Vogel, an accountant from West Hempstead, remembered his father's calm demeanor, even in crisis. Discussing the reason he parachuted from his plane over Düsseldorf, William Vogel recalled, his father said, " 'The plane was on fire. I thought it was a good idea.' "

After the war, Vogel returned to Long Island and to Hofstra, where he completed his degree in accounting on the GI Bill. He played on Hofstra's varsity baseball team and was captain of the basketball team. There, he also met his future wife, Olive Armstrong, whom he married in 1948. The couple lived in Roosevelt and Hempstead and had two sons.

Vogel received his master's in business administration from New York University, and became a certified public accountant. He attended night school to earn his law degree from Brooklyn Law School in 1955.

Vogel began a long teaching career at Hofstra in 1949, and remained there as a full-time teacher for more than 40 years, all the while practicing law and accounting.

William Vogel remembered his father as an always-calm, disciplined man whose love of order carried him throughout his life.

"I never saw him get excited," he said. "He always used to tell me that. 'Don't get excited, you have to stay calm.' "

An avid golfer -- he was past president and four-time champion at the Hempstead Golf Club -- Vogel for decades kept detailed spreadsheets of his golf scores. "He would record each round he played to see which holes were causing him trouble, to improve them the next time he played," his son said. "Talk about discipline. He always wanted to get better."

In addition to William, Vogel is survived by son Gregory Vogel of Fayetteville, N.C.; and a sister, Eleanor Koehler of Smithtown. He also is survived by seven grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren. His wife predeceased him on Thanksgiving Day 2014.

Services were held at St. Andrew's Church in West Hempstead, and he was buried at Greenfield Cemetery in Uniondale.


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