Nolan Jesse Parmer
1941 ~ 2019
Captain Nolan Parmer, age 78, flew west for the last time on September 17, 2019 after a courageous fight with heart and kidney disease.
Nolan was born February 7, 1941 to Jesse and Zeda Parmer in Port Arthur, Texas. He had no siblings. When Nolan was nine years of age the family moved to Phoenix to find a better climate for his severe asthma. He graduated from Camelback High School in 1959 where he participated in Junior ROTC (JROTC). Following high school Nolan matriculated to Arizona State University where he concurrently completed the Air Force ROTC curriculum and earned a degree in electrical engineering.
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Francis L. DeVoll
1926 ~ 2019
Francis DeVoll, age 95, former NWA Seattle Manager of Flight Operations, passed away quietly Wednesday morning, November 6, 2019, at the Harbor View Adult Family Home. His son Michael had spent the day with him.
After graduating from high school in Madelia, Minnesota, Fran attended business school then followed the lead of many young men of the time and enlisted in the Army Air Corps. He served in the 15th Army Air Force, flying 25 missions over Europe as a B-24 Liberator nose gunner. Thus, began a lifelong love of flying. After VE day he was reassigned stateside to Buckingham Army Air Base at Fort Myers, Florida where he met Lorraine, his wife of 65 years who predeceased him in September 2010.
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Joseph ‘Ned’ Best
1940 ~ 2019
Captain Ned Best, age 78, passed away the morning of July 24, 2019 surrounded by his loving wife of 39 years and their three grown children. Ned was born an identical twin to Samuel and Helen Best on October 28, 1940 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Ned earned both a Bachelor or Arts and a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Tulsa in 1962. Between the academic school years he found summer work fighting wildfires in Idaho, where he fell in love with the Pacific Northwest, vowing to someday make it his home. In addition to his academic studies at the University of Tulsa, Ned completed four years of Air Force ROTC and upon completing his degree was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Air Force Resesrve.
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James Allen Bestul
1933 ~ 2019
Captain James Allen Bestul, age 86, of Excelsior, Minnesota flew west for the last time on Nov. 07, 2019. Son of Sylvan and Rebecca (Ensberg) Bestul, Jim was born in Washington DC and grew up in Arlington VA and Bremerton WA. Jim was the oldest son, having a younger brother. For thirty-four years Jim’s father was an astronomer at the U.S. Naval Observatory. Due to his father’s employment Jim attended his first three years of high school in Bremerton, WA and then his senior year back in Arlington, VA. Despite his fragmented high school experience, Jim played the trombone in high school marching band in Bremerton. He also played in a Dixieland jazz band.
Jim spent four years at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio; where he studied accounting, graduating in 1955. A friend convinced Jim to look into Naval Aviation. Jim whizzed through the screening tests. Now having completed his bachelor’s degree Jim was off to Pensacola for pre-commissioning officer training followed by primary pilot training. The Pensacola training was followed by advanced training at NAS Corpus Christi, Texas.
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Gene Glen Winn
1931 ~ 2019
Gene Winn, age 87, passed away on August 26, 2019 in Estero, Florida. His cause of death was lung cancer.
Gene was born November 10, 1931 in Birmingham, AL the fourth son with a younger sister. He grew up in Pleasant Grove, AL. His father was a steelworker. All of Gene’s siblings, three brothers and sister, graduated from Auburn University, but Gene chose to earn his degree at Oklahoma State University. Family lore has it that Gene was an advanced student who skipped two grades. He began his university studies at Auburn University but dropped out to enlist in the USAF Aviation Cadet pilot training program.
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Robert Michael Matta
1932 ~ 2019
Captain Robert ‘Bob’ Matta, age 86, of Northfield, MN passed away on July 18, 2019. Bob was born on the family truck farm in what is now Brooklyn Center, Minnesota on August 4, 1932. He was the sixth and youngest child of Slovak immigrants, Mike and Anna (Humenik) Matta, and the baby brother of five doting, older sisters who ranged in age between 8 and 18 years his senior. According to oft-told family lore, when Bob was born his father was so excited to finally have a son that he literally skipped across the fields to the neighbors yelling “It’s a boy! It’s a boy!” in his native Slovak. Yes, Bob was spoiled!
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