Wayne Spohn

1932 ~ 2024

Obit Photo Wayne Spohn last flight

   Captain Wayne Spohn, age 91, passed away at Overlake Hospital in Bellevue, Washington. He was born in Niles, KS and after his parents  moved to a farm near Culver, KS, he attended grade and high school there. Wayne was a good student; he especially enjoyed sports and spent no small amount of time at home doing farm chores. There were eight children in the Spohn family, Wayne was in the middle of the clan, and they all grew up on the Kansas farm.

     Wayne wanted to be a Navy pilot and in pursuit of that objective he joined the Navy Reserve program at Olathe, KS while attending Kansas Wesleyan University. In August 1954, after two years of college, Wayne entered USN active duty as a Naval Aviation Cadet. His military and flight training began at the traditional NAS Pensacola, FL. After primary flight training, Wayne was transferred to NAS Hutchinson in Kansas for advanced flight training. At NAS Hutchinson he acquired his USN Commission and Navy pilot “wings of gold”.  After his initial active-duty assignments, Wayne stayed in the Navy Reserve program retiring as a Commander.


Obit Photo Wayne Spohn USN


    Wayne met Betty Tourbier at Kansas Wesleyan University and they were married in April 20, 1958 at Salina, KS. Their first active-duty station was at NAS Whidbey Island in Washington State. Wayne served overseas with his Navy patrol squadron (VP-17) in Okinawa and Japan. In December of 1958 (thanks to a message from NWA Pilot, Andy Anderson) he was hired as a pilot by Northwest Airline. A move to the Minneapolis, MN area soon followed thereafter. Remembering how much they had previously enjoyed the Pacific Northwest, Wayne requested a transfer to Seattle. Unfortunately, in the early 1960s NWA pilots felt the sharp pain of layoffs. Having been laid off by NWA, Wayne opted to return to USN Squadron VR-7, at NAS Moffett, serving an addition three years. In late 1964 Wayne was recalled by NWA. By 1966, Wayne was back in SEA, where he remained for the rest of his career. He flew many different aircraft, including the Boeing 747. Wayne loved his time with Northwest --- after retiring, when asked if he missed flying, he replied “Yes, but even more, I missed the camaraderie”.

   The mandatory age 60 retirement came a bit early. Mandatory retirement allowed Betty and Wayne to do a bit more travelling, to see the family in Kansas more often, and to spend ten winters in the California desert where they loved having guests and exploring the area. During that time, Wayne very much enjoyed get-togethers with Navy and NWA friends who were also in the desert, and he helped organize such reunions.     

   Wayne enjoyed cars, golfing, and helping neighbors with handy-man type tasks, sports and he loved music, his family and returning to Kansas to help with harvest.   

Obit Photo Wayne Spohn

   Wayne was preceded in death by his parents, 4 brothers and one sister.   He is survived by his wife, Betty, daughter, Lynn (Bryan) and son, Doug (Catherine) and granddaughter, Natalie, 2 sisters in Kansas and many nephews and nieces.

   A Celebration of Life service will be held at Newport Presbyterian Church, Bellevue WA on May 11 at 11 a.m.

(-Spohn family and Bill Day)