CSM (Retired) Michael D. “Mickey” Dattilio, 68, passed away unexpectedly on August 20, 2019, doing what he loved.
Mickey was born in Burlington, Vermont to Michael and Jeannine Dattilio on Easter Sunday, March 25, 1951. He was a 1969 graduate of Rice Memorial High School, and in 1987 earned an Associates Degree from Community College of Vermont. He began his military career in 1969.
On January 9, 1971 after six years as childhood sweethearts, Mickey married his love, Happy Giroux. They started life together at Fort Meade, Maryland and returned to Vermont where they made their home in Essex Junction, Vermont. Together they raised three children. In 2002, their dream was realized when they found “Graceland”, their camp on Lake Champlain in North Hero, Vermont. Together they were most proud of their three children and seven grandsons.
Mickey began his military career with basic training at Fort Dix and Fort Eustis and swiftly found his way to become a UH-1 helicopter mechanic in the Republic of Vietnam. Upon his return, he continued in aviation at Fort Meade, Maryland as a Crew Chief and helicopter mechanic for the First Army General. After being discharged honorably from the Army, he returned to Vermont and joined the Vermont Army National Guard where his aviation career continued. He went on to become Crew Chief, UH-1 Tech Inspector, and Platoon Sergeant. In 1982, he became First Sergeant and served in that capacity for ten years. In 1992, he became a Command Sergeant Major. In 1997, he left aviation when he was chosen to be Vermont State Command Sergeant Major, the highest rank a noncommissioned officer can achieve. He served under the leadership of MG (Ret) Martha Rainville and then under LTG (Ret) Michael Dubie until his retirement in 2011. During this tenure he traveled the world to support our soldiers in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait , Kosovo, Macedonia, Senegal and numerous other countries. The hardest and most impactful time in his career was the time he spent with the Gold Star families. Their ultimate sacrifice was never forgotten by Mickey. Throughout Mickey’s career he earned a significant number of awards and decorations including the Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal (1st OLC), Vietnam Service Medal, Vermont National Guard Medal of Merit and the St. Michael Award.
Mickey’s forty-two year military career was very important to him, however, time spent with family was most precious and he loved them fiercely. His greatest joy came from supporting his three children in all of their endeavors. He was so proud that they each earned a college degree and went on to have successful careers. Mickey was always close by with a listening ear, a helping hand, a warm heart and sound advice. This support continued with his precious grandsons. He had many titles throughout his military career but his most cherished title was that of “Grandpa”.
Mickey loved fishing and hunting and being outdoors but he will always be remembered for his kindness, caring and concern for all people. He was a remarkable man and spent his life in service to others. A little piece of Mickey lives on in all of us. He was loved by so many and will be missed by the masses.
Left to cherish his memory are his beloved wife of 48 years, Happy; his children; Christopher and wife Melanie and their children Teddy and Micah; daughter Tory and husband Jason and their children Sam and Will; and Patrick and his children Justin, Jonah, and Joshua, and his companion Jaime Bouchard Young and her children Seth and Sawyer. He also leaves behind his siblings; Brenda (Chuck) Johnson, Kenny (Sue) Dattilio, Danny (Sherry) Dattilio, Joanne (Kevin) Holcomb, Judy (Tim) Palermo, and Maryanne (Kevin) McGrath; father-in-law Leo Giroux and his companion Billie, sisters-in-law Darlene (Brian) Nelligan, Cissie (Christian) Deane, Mikie (Gaston) Santerre, Judie Wilson Giroux, Tracy Sherwin Giroux; brothers-in-law Peter (Moya) Giroux, and Patrick (Jeanne) Giroux, many aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his father Michael Donato Dattilio; mother Jeannine Danis Dattilio; his mother-in-law Grace Taylor Giroux; and brother-in-laws Joel Peter Giroux and James David Giroux.
Visiting hours will be held 1PM-4PM on August 25, 2019 at LaVigne Funeral Home, 132 Main Street, Winooski Vermont. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11:00AM on Monday, August 26, 2019 at St. Lawrence Catholic Church, 158 West Street, Essex Junction, Vermont. Full military honors will be accorded at Resurrection Park Cemetery, 200 Hinesburg Road, South Burlington, Vermont. Please join the family for a reception at The Green Mountain Armory Drill Hall, Camp Johnson, 789 Vermont National Guard Road, Colchester, Vermont.
For those who wish to make contributions, memorial donations can be made in Mickey’s name to the North Hero Volunteer Fire Department, P.O. Box 132, North Hero, Vermont 05474 to be used for the NHVFD Marine/Ice Rescue Program.