Dr. Gregory Varhall passed away unexpectedly on April 15, 2011. A memorial service was held on April 26, 2011 at Ft. Myer Chapel, Virginia and his funeral service was May 10, 2011 at the Air Force Academy where he was laid to rest, per his wishes, in the Academy Cemetery.
Growing up in Shimer Manor, N.J., Greg knew he wanted to attend USAFA and become an Air Force Officer. He cherished his time at USAFA and regaled his family and friends with "tall tales" of spirit missions, tunnel exploring, plane "reshuffling" and helping to set up the initial USAFA Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) program.
Greg was a proud member of the class of 1968. He never left the house without his '68 hat or jacket and his "beloved" Mini Coopers had the class crest proudly displayed. While he loved belonging to the class of '68, the feeling was mutual as many of his classmates supported his family as we laid him to rest.
Although he did not qualify for his "silver wings" because of medical issues, Greg found his real avocation as an Intelligence Officer. He was proud to have a career as a "silent warrior" in the USAF Security Service and he completed over five years of military education and training courses, as well as tours in England, Southeast Asia, and Scotland. Always on the go, Lt. Col. Varhall completed his USAF career as a U.S. representative to the Defense and Space talks with the Soviet Union in Geneva, Switzerland, and participated in numerous INF treaty inspections.
Dr. Varhall earned his PhD in Soviet and East European Studies from the University of Notre Dame in 1982. His extensive travel during his USAF career gave him the opportunity to work with some of the most preeminent authorities on the Soviet Union, including a year in Scotland working side-by-side with Professor John Erickson. Greg became an authority in his own right, edited numerous works pertaining to the Soviet Union and his work is still widely used and quoted. His knowledge and extensive expertise are sadly missed by colleagues.
Following retirement, Greg served his country as a Defense Contractor. His last position was with Analytic Services where he specialized in Intelligence, Cyberwarfare, and Homeland Defense/Security. His vast knowledge, compassion and willingness to share his experiences were invaluable, and he leaves a void that will be hard to fill.
Greg found his soulmate and was proud to share his life with another USAFA graduate (Brig. Gen. Linda "U-V" Urrutia-Varhall, '84). He was her #1 fan and relished in her success as she rose through the ranks. As her best friend, mentor and confidant, his beaming smile as he pinned her first star is a memory she will hold dear forever.
Greg cherished being with family. He loved to travel with Linda and spend time with his children, grandchildren, and his faithful English Setter (Klyx). He had a passion for baseball, especially the Cubs. He held dear all things English and was well studied on almost any subject. Quick with a joke, he was truly a character. Unique, always willing to help, and knowledgeable are words that capture his life best.
Greg lived life to the fullest and we shall never forget the times we were lucky enough to spend with him. Dr. Varhall is survived by his wife, Linda; brother Nick; children James, Kereigh, and Greg; and grandchildren Sadie and Tommy. He is greatly missed, but the light of his spirit and character lives on in his family and all who had the privilege to know him. Ya lyublyu tebya, sweetheart! (Written by Greg's wife, Linda Urrutia-Varhall)