Lawrence G. Wigbels
January 19, 1921 – September 1, 2013
Lawrence Gerard Wigbels, retired Colonel of the United States Air Force, and retired President and Chief Executive Officer of the United Telephone System – Eastern Group, passed away in Camp Hill, PA on September 1, 2013 after a long illness at the age of 92. Wigbels served as the Air Force deputy director of command control and communications in Washington, D.C. for a year prior to retirement. In this post he directed a large staff of key military and civilian government specialists, and shared with the director the supervision of all planning and direction of communications activities throughout the Air Force. Before his enlistment in the Army in 1941, he attended North Texas Agricultural College in Arlington, Texas. During WWII, Wigbels rose from the rank of corporal to major. He served in Europe first as Commander of the 902nd Engineer Headquarters Company in Normandy. He served with both the 101st and the 82nd Airborne Divisions of the First Allied Airborne Army throughout the European campaigns. He received service awards for the Normandy, Northern France, Holland, Central Europe and Germany campaigns. In 1947, then Major Wigbels was awarded a regular commission in the USAF and his first assignment was at Olmstead Field (now Harrisburg International Airport). He was then selected to attend Cornell University at Ithaca, New York where he received a bachelor’s degree in the fields of physics and mathematics. He also earned his master’s degree in business administration from The George Washington University. Wigbels was also a graduate of the highest national military and civilian institution, The Industrial College of the Armed Forces. Following his retirement in 1986, Wigbels joined the United Telephone System – Eastern Group as executive vice president. As president and chief executive officer (August 1972 – January 1986), the company realized a 50 percent gain in access lines. Wigbels was active in the Telephone Pioneers, twice served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Pennsylvania Independent Telephone Association, and was a member of the board of directors for JLG Industries, Inc., and a past board member of the Carlisle Chamber of Commerce and the Cumberland Country chapter of the American Red Cross. Colonel Wigbels is survived by daughter Andrea Wigbels Stewart (Michael); son Jeffrey Wigbels (Tiffany); daughter Lynette Wigbels (Eugene Rice); son Lawrence G. Wigbels III (Kathy Myles); and eight grandchildren, Andrew and Michelle (Stewart); Heather, Sarah and Guy (Wigbels); Ava and Jack (Wigbels); and Haley (Myles); and four great grandchildren, Devin, Cali, Audri and Ethan. His wife, Carol Marie Smith, predeceased him in 2001. His love for country and family was evident throughout his lifetime. Colonel Wigbels will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery with his beloved wife, Carol. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Wounded Warrior Project www. Woundedwarriorproject.org.
Lawrence G. Wigbels
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February 9, 2014
I helped take care of Colonel Wigbels. He and his family are wonderful people. I still very often think of him and how he made me smile and the time I spent taking care of him. I will miss him too. My condolences to the family and Andrea I miss talking to you, we lost touch.
October 30, 2013
Dear Dad - thank you very much for all that you did for me and with me!
October 29, 2013
Your influence on me has traveled through all who have met me, worked with me and more importantly to my family. Your hard work, drive and integrity will stay with me forever. We didn't always see eye to eye, but I love you very much and thank the day I was born to Carol and You! I will never forget! What a journey...
Jack and Maureen Siggins
October 28, 2013
Our deepest sympathy to your family.
October 19, 2013
To all who write in this Guest Book, our thanks for sending your thoughts to Dad's family. They provide great comfort. We miss him very much.
Andrea Wigbels Stewart, on behalf of the Wigbels family.
September 19, 2013
Colonel Wigbels was my boss at Strategic Air Command Headquarters, Offutt AFB, Nebraska, and I had great admiration and respect for him as an officer and a gentleman. John N. Elliott and Della Elliott
September 9, 2013
On behalf of many employees at CenturyLink, successor company to United Telephone System - Eastern Group, our condolences to the entire Wigbels family following your loss. Mr. Wigbels presided over a great expansion of our company during the 1970s and 1980s, and many of those who started during his tenure are still with us today. Many thoughts and prayers are with you,
Gerald Piper, VP/GM - CenturyLink PA
September 7, 2013
To the family of col. Wigbels, he was a great man, he was a part of that greatest grenaration of our country, his work will never be forgotten.. he also was my friend. I will miss his smile
September 7, 2013
Andrea our thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family....We love you.
Donald and Cheryl Campbell (Afton, VA)
September 7, 2013
I couldn't have asked for a better role model and grandparent. I feel very lucky to have so many wonderful memories.
Mary Faith Pankin
September 6, 2013
Andrea, your dear father was an exemplary person, and you were fortunate to have such a wonderful parent. With all my love and sympathy.