Benjamine Lawrence Abruzzo
Born in Rockford, Illinois. Received B.S. from the University of Illinois in 1952. Married Patricia Steer June 6, 1952. They had four children. Served in U.S. Air Force 1952 to 1954. Real estate developer. Chairman and president of Alvarado Realty Company.
In 1978 became one of the first to fly a balloon across the Atlantic. For this he received a congressional gold medal. In 1981 Abruzzo, Rocky Aoki, Ron Clark and Larry Newman flew the balloon Double Eagle V from Nagashima, Japan, to northern California.
He died in an airplane crash in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
legal ref: Public Law 96-20, 93 Stat. 45 bio: ConAut 115; WWWest 84 obit: NYT 2/12/85 see: Transatlantic BalloonistsSource credit: Pete Smith, American Numismatic Biographies