Kenneth Vaughan Sollberger passed away of pancreatic cancer on April 18, 2023 at the age of 82 in his Mandeville, LA home surrounded by his loving family. He is survived by his beloved wife of 31 years, Marie Fulgham Sollberger; his loved brother L. Albert Sollberger, Jr. (Dianne); and his cherished children, K. Vaughan Sollberger, Jr. (Stefani); Peter R. Sollberger (Edie); Meredith H. Harmon (Jason); and Meagan H. Garcia (Mike). He is also survived by his five adored grandchildren: Avery P. Sollberger, Adelaide V. Sollberger, Luke F. Harmon, Sawyer R. Sollberger, and Macie M. Garcia. Loved nephews and niece L. Craig Sollberger (Dee); Brian D. Sollberger (Sandy); and Laurie S. Thomas. He was born July 29, 1940 in Jackson, MS and preceded in death by his parents L. Albert “Solly” Sollberger, Sr. and Mary Ann “Maw Maw” Hegwood.
He spent his childhood in Slidell, LA graduating from Slidell High School in 1958. For his entire life, the marshes of the Rigolets, waters of Lake Pontchartrain, and swamps of Pearl River provided him adventures of fishing, shrimping, crabbing, and hunting with family and friends. He worked for his Uncle Jules at Lonestar Cement Tugboats on the MS River while attending LSU. He lived in the ‘LSU Stadium’ Student Dorm, graduating in 1963.
Ken married Martha Randolph Blackman in 1964 and began his service in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War. He served as a Lt. Navy Pilot stationed on the U.S.S. Shangri-La in the Pacific. Later he joined the rare breed of Navy Hurricane Hunters serving as Commander through 1969. He and his crew flew through & directly into the eye of the worst storms on earth while collecting crucial data to protect lives & property, as he did during Hurricane Camille in August 1969.
He was employed by Delta Airlines for 31 years from 1969-2000 retiring as Captain on the B-767. He made many lifelong airline friends taking them to his fish camps for wonderful days of shrimping, duck hunting, fishing, crabbing, and shucking oysters.
In 1992, Ken married Marie, Delta Flight Attendant, and they blended their two families that have shared much love and adventures together over the years. He thoroughly enjoyed his post-retirement fishing and hunting for 23 years...especially teaching his grandkids, when they would listen, as he often said. He was a serious competitor for the past 18 years in the Northshore Lake Pontchartrain Fishing Rodeo, especially enjoying their weigh-ins and fish stories. He holds the current Rodeo Records for Flounder (7.2# in 2010) and Calcutta (14.22# also in 2010).
He was a man of varied interests - operated two shrimp boats; a voracious reader and daily crossword, sudoku & wordle enthusiast; lifelong hunter & fisherman from an early age; loved his many Labrador Retrievers; built cypress pirogues; gardened & grafted camellias in his lovely backyard filled with birds & hummers; followed LSU sports faithfully & energetically; widely known for his highly prized Christmas Gifts of homemade salsa; teacher of card games & dominoes to his competitive grandchildren. Most of all, he was a devoted, loving, patient and generous Husband, Father, Granddad and Uncle who treasured most in life “his time spent with his family”. He was so thankful for his full life and his wise & giving spirit will be greatly missed by all that knew him. His Celebration of Life will be on May 20, 2023. Those wishing to make a contribution in Ken’s memory, please know that St. Jude’s Hospital was his most beloved charity.