Michael Stephen Vargo (Mike), 91, passed away on December 2, 2020, shortly after his family said their
goodbyes to him via a Zoom call. He passed away at EIRMC due to COVID-19.
Mike was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to his parents Michael Vargo and Anna Karas Vargo. He was the
third of three children. After graduating as valedictorian from high school at St. Francis de Salles in Pittsburgh,
Mike attended the University of Pittsburgh where he graduated with a degree in electrical engineering and
attended graduate schools at the University of Maryland and the University of Pittsburgh. As a young teenager
growing up during WWII and witnessing the sacrifices made by other young men and families, Mike was inspired
to dedicate his career to service and protect his country, community, friends and family as a nuclear engineer. He
was particularly proud of his contribution during his early career to building the first nuclear-powered U.S. Navy
surface vessels, the USS Long Beach missile-cruiser (CGN-9) and the USS Enterprise (CVN-65) aircraft carrier,
and also his work on the USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67), USS Nimitz (CVN-68), USS Dwight D. Eisenhower
(CVN-69), and USS Robert E. Lee (SSBN-601).
While in Washington, DC he met Kay, the love of his life. They were married at St. Stephen's Catholic Church in
North Carolina and were happily married for 61 years. Mike and Kay moved and started a family while he
continued his work for the Westinghouse-Bettis Atomic Power Division in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In 1970, he
moved his family to Idaho Falls to head the AIW Modification Project at the Naval Reactors Facility for the Atomic
Energy Commission at the NRTS by Westinghouse. Mike enjoyed the environment and community in Idaho
Falls and he chose to stay in Idaho. His career and dedication continued at the Idaho National Energy
Laboratory (INEL) when he finally retired in 1995 overseeing Occupational Safety and Health Act (OHSA) at the
site, the cornerstone legislation for workplace health and safety, and consulting in clean up audits at Three Mile
Island and Rocky Flats.
Mike was a wonderful husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle and friend; he will certainly be missed by all
who knew and loved him. He encouraged the importance of education, hard work, kindness, humility and spent
countless hours teaching and living these values with his family. Mike was an avid golfer, a true baseball fan,
and loved cheering for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Known by his close friends as "The Commish", he consistently
brought friends together to enjoy life at local golf courses and events and was a proud longtime member of the
Idaho Falls Country Club. After moving to Idaho, his love of the outdoors was shared with his family during all
seasons with golfing, fishing, skiing, hockey, ice skating and camping with frequent trips to Sun Valley, Jackson
Hole, Grand Targhee, Yellowstone and many more National Parks and Forests across the West. He proudly
coached his sons' baseball teams from T-ball up to American Legion, was active in the Scouts, and coached and
cheered on his children and grandchildren at their various sporting events.
Along with his parents, Mike is preceded in passing by his sisters, Elizabeth Keeney and Josephine
Stempkowski. He was survived by twenty -nine days by his loving wife, Kay Guyer Vargo, and is now survived
by his four children Michael Vargo, Jr., partner Anita Douglas, of Pinedale, Wyoming, Lisa Vargo, husband Troy
Shearer, of Seattle, Washington, Guy Vargo, of Idaho Falls, Idaho and LeAnn Vargo Scalzo, husband David
Scalzo, of Seattle, Washington; two grandchildren, Ariel Adams and Colin Shearer; two step grandchildren, Nick
Scalzo and Luke Scalzo; and his niece, Deb Moreland, husband Jim, of Mars, Pennsylvania, and nephew Mark
Stem, wife Judy, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Due to the impact of COVID-19, a memorial service and reception will be held in the future (hopefully late
summer 2021) when it is safe to do so and the family and friends can gather to celebrate his life along with the
life of his beloved Kay.
For anyone who is not taking the corona virus seriously, the family urges you to please wear a mask, practice
social distancing, wash your hands and limit social gatherings to help prevent any further avoidable deaths. Mike
was dedicated to protecting others and we hope all will be inspired to do the same.
Please visit www.buckmillerhann.com to share memories and leave condolences with the family.