OBITUARY: Touchstone to Destin's past remembers picnicking on Marler Bridge

Staff Writer
The Destin Log
Carolyn Melvin Vagias

Carolyn Melvin Vagias

Carolyn Melvin Vagias, originally of Destin, born April 22, 1927, passed peacefully at home with family at her side on Dec. 18, 2013. At the time of her passing, she was the oldest surviving member of both the Destin family and the Melvin family. Over her life, she witnessed incredible changes to the sleepy little fishing of Destin.

She was born to Ellen Destin Melvin and OT Melvin, early settlers of Destin, which was then a small enclave of fishermen and their families. Carolyn was the youngest of four children, born in her father's fishing camp at the mouth of Destin Harbor. She lived a charmed childhood, walking barefoot along the harbor's edge to reach the Old Destin Schoolhouse tucked under the trees on the shore of Choctawhatchee Bay. Her days were spent enjoying the water, the sun, and the beach, all in a quiet Destin, which had not yet known the first tourist or traffic light.

When the original Destin Bridge was built, she spoke of having picnics on the highest span. On the rare occasion that an automobile came along, she explained how they would simply pick up their picnic, step aside and wait for the car to pass before placing everything back down again in the middle of the road.

Although there was no public electricity in Destin, Carolyn's father purchased an early Delco generator, which provided light in their home for a couple of hours each evening.

Carolyn met and married the love of her life, Louis Vagias, an Air Force officer and pilot from Eglin Air Force Base. Despite the transfers and travel, typical of military life, she and Lou always ended up back at Eglin with both of their childen, Artemis Diane, and Louis Jr., born in local area.

Wherever she and Lou lived, she was always active and serving others. While on Okinawa, Carolyn hosted a weekly radio program through which she taught English as a second language. At all duty assignments, she was active in the Officer's Wives Club where she served in many capacities.

Upon Louis' retirement from the military, Carolyn became active in the Fort Walton Beach Women's Club and the Retired Officer's Wives Club where she devotedly served the community she loved.

Carolyn is remembered by everyone for her generous hospitality, her warm and considerate persona, her compassion, and her beauty. Carolyn loved to laugh and to make others laugh. She never had a harsh word for anyone, and was always the bright spot in the room. She will be dearly missed by all who knew and loved her. She was committed fully to her family. She loved her grandchildren and had endless pride in the accomplishments of both her daughter and son.

Carolyn is survived by her husband, Louis Vagias, Sr.; her daughter, Artemis "Diane" Vagias, married to Richard Sadlier of Coronado, Calif.; and her son, Dr. Louis Vagias, married to Janet Castleberry of Niceville, Fla. Grandchildren include Carolyn Wayman married to Eric Blaylock of Haymarket, Va., Kathy Wayman married to Randy Main of San Pedro, Calif., and Louis "Zach" Vagias III of Valpariso. Great-grandchildren include 9-year old Bryce Blaylock, 7-year old Nik Blaylock, 5-year old Wyatt Main, and 3-year old Lily Main.