Charles D. Hagen
1930 ~ 2023
Captain Charles ‘Chuck’ Hagen, age 92, died Saturday January 14, 2023, in Denver Colorado. Chuck had struggled with Alzheimer’s Disease. Chuck was born in Minneapolis, MN to parents Blanche and Edwin Hagen. He was an only child. Chuck’s father worked on the Alaskan Highway Project but fell though the ice and died during a visit back to Siren, WI.
Chuck attended Siren High School in where he was a good student, musician and played football in high school. Two divergent interests in Chuck’s life were playing the piano and flying. As a student he hitch-hiked to piano lessons because every cent of spare cash went for flying lessons at the grass strip airport in Siren. Chuck played the piano his entire life and always kept a photo of his piano teacher on the piano. When he refused to practice the teacher would shake her head and look at him asking, “What’s going to become of you?” He kept the picture on the piano to remind himself of that moment and it kept him humble.
Chuck studied music at Superior State University, but after a few nights watching musicians in a nearby jazz club, he decided that aviation was the better career path. Northwest Airlines hired Chuck on June 28, 1950 as an aircraft groomer, and once again, whatever income he had to spare went for flying lessons. Once Chuck had acquired 220 hours of flight time, he started making the right connections by saying “Yes Sir” a lot and was rehired by NWA as a pilot. His official pilot date of hire was April 03, 1952.
By the early 1950s NWA had a unique role in the post-war restoration of Japan Air Lines (JAL). Select NWA pilots and aircraft were reassigned to JAL to restart the post-war airline. Chuck’s first post-training assignment was to JAL.
Kenneth F. Hoverson
1934 ~ 2022
Captain Kenneth F. Hoverson, age 88, of Rogers, MN passed away November 24, 2022, in Buffalo, MN. Ken was born in Lidgerwood, ND on February 8, 1934, the son of Kenneth L. and Eva (Franta) Hoverson. He grew up in Buffalo, MN and graduated from Buffalo High School in 1951.
After high school Ken attended the College of St. Thomas for 2 years before entering the U.S. Navy in 1953 as a Naval Aviation Cadet (NAVCAD). He began the Navy and military training at NAS Pensacola, his flight training was mostly at nearby Saufly Field where Ken trained in the North American SNJ. His single engine training included carrier qualification on the USS Monterrey. Toward the end of his flight training Ken was assigned to NAS Meridian Mississippi for multiengine training in the Beechcraft SNB-5.
1930 ~ 2022
Captain Robert ‘Bart’ Bartholomay, age 92, born in Fargo, North Dakota. Bart developed a love of sports at an early age.
Bart attended Wahpeton High School, lettering in Football, Basketball and Track. Bart attended the University of Minnesota on a football scholarship and was also on the 1953 All Vance Football Team. Bart was associated with the Minnesota Twins owner Calvin Griffin, where he made lifelong friendships with MLB players, coaches, and umpires. Later he would become a scout for the Minnesota Twins. For a while he was the team pilot for the Minnesota Vikings under his friend Norm Van Brocklin. A lifelong Seattle Mariner fan, he was STILL hoping to see the Mariners make it to the World Series, but alas. Also, an avid golfer, Bart learned the game from future LPGA pros, Marlene Hagge and Louise Suggs. He was a member of various golf clubs in Minneapolis and Florida and was still an active member at Rainier C.C in Seattle and Bermuda Dunes C.C. in California upon his death.
Bart’s other great passion was aviation. He entered the Air Force in 1953 and served as a B-25 pilot. On August 07, 1957, Bart became a Northwest Airlines pilot where he worked for 28 years. Bart loved the adventuresome lifestyle of piloting and enjoyed exciting trips to Hong Kong and Hamburg in the early 70’s. He also flew in Vietnam during the war. He retired in 1985 as a 747 Captain and settled in the Washington area.
Warren Curtiss Erickson
1931 ~ 2022
Captain Warren Erickson, age 91, of Edina, MN, passed away on December 2, 2022. Warren was born March 29, 1931 and grew up in St Paul in a large and tight-knit family. From an early age he dreamed of flying airplanes and was able to realize this, retiring after 32 years as a 747 captain for Northwest Airlines. As a child, he would bike over to Wold Chamberlain field to watch planes take off and land. So dedicated to his passion, he lived with his parents during college to save enough money for flying lessons on the weekend. He joked it wasn't that bad as "tuition was only a couple hundred bucks" back then. In the Army he served as a Counterintelligence officer and worked all over Europe, visiting historic sites, enjoying the culture and motorcycling along the Mediterranean.
His first airline job was for TWA when he lived at a beach house on Long Island with other trainees. Eventually he landed his dream job at Northwest Airlines. When there was a layoff, Warren flew for two years for Air America, the clandestine CIA airline that supported the Hmong in Laos. Living in Tokyo and Thailand during this time gave him an appreciation for the arts and culture of the Orient.
Richard R. Smith
1928 ~ 2023
Captain Richard ‘Dick’ Smith, age 94, died January 1, 2023 after an extended struggle with lymphoma. Dick was born in Jackson, Wyoming to Roberta and Reuben Smith, the middle of three sons. He was orphaned at age four, raised by his grandmother in Dodge Center, Minnesota until age 12, and thereafter raised by his Aunt Annie Cooper in Rochester, Minnesota.
Dick’s teenage years can be described as remarkable. Perhaps it was a product of being orphaned, but Dick was a ‘young man with a mission.’ He was a remarkable high school student and National Merit Scholar. He was also a pioneer in forming the local Air Scout movement. After high school he studied pre-engineering at Rochester Junior College. “I figure I’ll have a profession to fall back on if I ever leave flying for some reason or other.”
At the age of 15 Dick launched his flying career by working part-time at the Rochester Airport as a ‘line boy’ for an aerial ambulance service owned by NWA pilot Art Hoffman. In time Hoffman and his partner ‘Red’ Robinson began flight training for young Dick. In short time his duties expanded well beyond that of line boy. Robinson described Dick as being readily adaptable displaying exceptionally good judgement. At age 17 Dick acquired his private license, having already logged 150 hours solo, even though only 30 were required for the license.
John Kenneth Morley
1939 ~ 2022
Captain John Kenneth Morley, age 83, died December 08, 2022, in Winlock, WA. Ken, as he preferred to be called, was born on the Hawaiian island of Maui and was raised on both Maui and Oahu. Ken was the oldest of three sons.
His high school years were spent on Oahu, initially living in Kailua in the Maunawili Falls area attending Kailua High School then later graduating from Punahou High School, the same school as President Obama. He played football in high school and was recruited by Penn State University. At Penn State he met and played freshman varsity football under famed coach, then junior varsity coach Joe Paterno. After a year at Penn State, he returned to Oahu and enlisted in the Hawaiian Air National Guard.
Ken became a crew chief on the Convair F-102 Delta Dagger. He applied for and was accepted into the Air Guard Officer Candidate School as a precursor to pilot training. With his new USAF commission Ken entered Undergraduate Pilot Training (UPT) at Laredo AFB, Texas - assigned to the 3640th Pilot Training Wing. Ken underwent UPT flying the Cessna T-37 Tweet and the Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star. After UPT Ken was sent to Perrin AFB for fighter aircraft tactical training and qualification on the F-102. After completion of fighter training, Ken returned to Hickam AFB to stand ready alert with the Air Guard 199th Fighter Squadron.