XENIA - A decorated veteran, successful businessman and adviser to a future president has died.
Daniel James Bigelow, 80, a native of East Liverpool, died Monday after being hospitalized in Dayton for the past few months. He had been residing in Xenia.
A member of the ELHS Class of 1953 and a Kent State graduate, Colonel Bigelow served 30 years in the U.S. Air Force.
A command pilot with 5,400 hours in fighter, bomber, transport and rescue seaplane aircraft, he flew 167 combat missions during seven campaigns in Vietnam. He served as a strategic warfare tactician writing Emergency War Order (EWO) plans for the Eighth Air Force, and was commander of the nuclear strike force of B-52 and KC-135 aircraft.
Bigelow was a member of the Air Force's Aeronautical Systems Division in the 1980s. As director of tactical research and development planning, he initiated the F-22 fighter program. As director of life support systems, he supervised 70 R&D programs for aircrew equipment and chemical defense systems; and as director of services he supervised 13,000 personnel responsible for weapon systems acquisitions.
Also, during the Reagan Administration, he was the U.S. Air Attache to the Soviet Union. Living in Moscow, Bigelow represented the secretary and chief of staff of the Air Force and was military adviser to then Ambassador George H.W. Bush.
He also provided the Defense Intelligence Agency with sensitive political/military information which led to him receiving a national award for intelligence collection by CIA Director William Casey, one of 55 military awards and decorations over his career.
Bigelow retired from the Air Force after serving as director of Soviet studies at the Air War College.
Still in his 50s, he then started his own company, Bigelow Arrowspace Consulting, and joined up with another new company, MTC Technologies.
Bigelow worked with the Dayton-based defense contractor for more than 20 years, first as general manager of aerospace and later as director of investor relations and corporate communications, overseeing its transformation to a publicly traded company in 2002.
According to its website, MTC provides a wide range of sophisticated system engineering, intelligence, information technology and program management solutions primarily to the Department of Defense and various intelligence agencies. It employs 2,900 people at more than 40 locations nationwide.
He retired from MTC in 2009.
Bigelow was also an artist who displayed his famous, "Blood & Guts" painting of a bullfight in Mexico in the 1964 World's Fair.
Bigelow, the son of the late Hilda and Raymond Bigelow, is survived by his wife, the former Jane Allison, a daughter and two grandchildren.
Funeral arrangements are pending.