(CBS) — An Elk Grove Village man known as “Sgt. Pizza” for arranging the delivery of pizza to troops in the Middle East and Afghanistan — as well as to patients in veterans’ hospitals — has died at the age of 58.

Mark Evans was an Air National Guard logistics master sergeant. But he will always be remembered for arranging the frozen pizza shipments for July 4 and Super Bowl Sundays that filled entire cargo jets, beginning in 2008.

sgt pizza Sgt. Pizza Passes Away at 58

Mark Evans, the Air National Guard master sergeant who started Pizza 4 Patriots. (picture provided to CBS)

Veterans’ Day VA hospital pizza parties came later.

When Evans’ son Kent wrote the Pentagon with the idea, Gen. David Petraeus himself wrote back within hours that it was a “go.”

Evans worked with DHL to assure prompt international delivery of the pizzas.

“My dad only wanted to bring some well wishes from back home to our soldiers who put their lives on the line every day in faraway places,” Kent Evans says.  “He had a tremendous passion and a gift for sharing his vision to assist others.”

Pizza 4 Patriots says it has delivered more than 250,000 pizzas to combat troops worldwide, serving more than 1.5 million troops.

Evans’ family says on the organization’s Facebook page that non-profit will continue “in his honor.”

In fact, the family asks that donations be made in his honor to Pizza 4 Patriots.

The elder Evans passed away Friday of natural causes, his family says.

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