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By BETSY BOLGER-PAULET
© St. Petersburg Times, published December 23, 2000
BELLEAIR -- Edward Thomas Imparato, a retired Air Force colonel, author of two accounts of experiences in World War II, among other books, and a major force behind many local foundations, died Thursday (Dec. 21, 2000) at his home in Belleair. He was 83.
Born in Flushing, N.Y., Col. Imparato grew up in Saugerties, N.Y., and came here from Albrook Air Force Base, Canal Zone, Panama, when he retired in 1961 after 23 years in the Air Force.
Col. Imparato graduated from Ryan School of Aeronautics and West Point of the Air at Randolph Field, Texas. At the age of 27, he became the youngest full colonel in the military and he was the youngest air group commander in World War II.
He piloted the first aircraft to land in Japan at the war's end, carrying 28 Army, Navy, Marine and Air Force personnel sent to prepare the way for Gen. Douglas MacArthur to accept the surrender of Japan.
After Col. Imparato retired to Belleair at the age of 43, he started a second career in finance and investments.
He retired as vice president and resident manager of the Clearwater office of Merrill Lynch and also retired in 1991 after seven years as chairman and chief executive of International Systems and Technology Inc. of Oldsmar, which repairs circuit breakers for utilities and markets a technology to repair cracking in the cooling systems of nuclear reactors.
His civic accomplishments were many. He established foundations in Clearwater for the YMCA, UPARC, Abilities Inc., the Arthritis Research Institute, the Florida Gulf Coast Art Center, the Pinellas Animal Foundation, the Senior Citizens Foundation and was a principal benefactor for the Downtown Children's Center. He organized and founded Morton Plant Hospital Foundation and was its first board president.
He was a member of Episcopal Church of the Ascension, a former commodore of Carlouel Yacht Club, a member of Belleair Country Club, former president of Florida Gulf Coast Art Center and a member of the Daddaleans at MacDill Air Force Base.
He was a prolific writer. In addition to his accounts of World War II, he wrote seven books on money management.
His World War II titles include an account of wartime experiences with MacArthur, Into Darkness: A Pilot's Journey Through Headhunter Territory.
The book, based on a diary he wrote during an eight-day safari he led through hostile jungle in New Guinea in 1943, followed his team's mission to investigate the crash of a U.S. B-24 Liberator bomber.
Their mission was to determine why these planes were mysteriously crashing in clear weather with no hostile action. His findings of mechanical defects led to modifications of the B-24, for which he was awarded a Legion of Merit medal.
Another book, Rescue from Shangri-La, related the time when he was one of the crew chosen to rescue U.S. military personnel stranded in Hidden Valley, New Guinea. He was one of three survivors out of the 24 sent on the trip.
Survivors include his wife, Jean deGarmo Imparato; a son, Edward T., California; five sisters, Phyllis Conway, Nan Hanofee, Celia Rinaldi, Helen Sullivan and Lucille Doyle, all of New York; and a household employee of 44 years, Marcelino Fernandez Hubbell Funeral Home and Crematory, Belleair Bluffs, is in charge of arrangements.
- Information from Times files was used in this report.