Frederick H. Weber
1940 ~ 2021
Captain Frederick Howard Weber, age 81, was born April 10, 1940, in New York City. The son of Fritz and Elizabeth Weber, Fred was raised in the Catskill Mountains of Upstate NY. Fred was an only child. His first memory of his father came after the end of WWII when father returned from Navy service in the Pacific.
Fred graduated from Middleburg High School in Upstate NY. After high school he enlisted in the US Air Force and served as an electronics technician in the Atlas F Missile program. When the Atlas F missile was retired from the SAC inventory Fred was retrained as a B-52 Aerial Defensive Gunner. He was assigned to a SAC B-52 squadron at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, Goldsborough NC. During his off-duty time Fred learned how to fly in the Base Aero Club at Seymour Johnson AFB. After obtaining several pilot ratings through the Aero Club, Fred separated from the active Air Force and returned to Upstate NY. His first pilot job was with Richmore Aviation in Hudson, NY flying mostly corporate aircraft. After building flight time and experience with Richmore Aviation, Fred applied for pilot employment with Northwest Airlines. He began his airline career on March 24, 1969.
Shortly after enlisting in the Air Force Fred married Elizabeth Elpel who grew up in a neighboring small town in Upstate NY. During their 58-year marriage Fred and Elizabeth raised two children - Sharon and Mike. Today Sharon is an elementary school teacher and Mike followed his father’s footsteps and is currently a Captain with Delta Air Lines.
During the layoffs and strikes of the 1970s, Fred was one of the first laid off NWA pilots to drive a city bus for Metro Transit in Minneapolis. He told funny bus driving stories and recalled how his fellow pilots assisted other laid off NWA pilots getting hired by Metro Transit. But that job didn’t last long, and he soon moved on to managing a car dealership in Lakeville, MN. He also flew Lear Jet corporate aircraft for International Jet at Lakeville airport. These non-airline jobs seemed to consume a lot of the 1970’s. Dad was often laid off as he was in one of the last hired classes of 1969.
Fred flew all three seats on the B727; e.g., Second Officer (S/O) , First Officer (F/O) and Captain (CA), as both F/O and CA on the B757, F/O on the DC-10 and the Classic B747 and finished his career as a Captain on the B747-400. Fred was long involved with the NWA Flight Training Department and served as an Instructor/Line Check Airman and as a FAA Aircrew Program Designee (APD) on the B727, B757, and the B747-400.
Fred enjoyed fishing, bird hunting, and spending time on Lake Waconia. In the late 90’s Dad and Mom moved to Montana where Fred often joined friends golfing and fly fishing around Missoula. Fred was an avid card player and played small stakes poker two times a week with friends and loved playing ‘Bridge’ with his wife Liz. He raised his family playing ‘Hearts’ on every family trip and various Rummy games every day with his kids at home after school.
Dad passed away 30 May 2021 after struggling with Alzheimer’s and Dementia. He is survived by his wife Elizabeth Weber, daughter Sharon McKinney, Son-in-law Michael McKinney, Son Michael Weber and Grand-children Kaitlyn McKinney, Casey McKinney and James McKinney. The Weber’s retired to Polson, MT at the south end of Flathead Lake.
(- Mike Weber and Bill Day)