Bob Jondahl  

1923 ~ 2023 

Obit Photo Bob Jondahl 747

    Captain Robert Jondahl, age 100, passed away Thursday, Jan. 11, 2024, at his home in Edina, MN. Bob was born Nov. 25, 1923, in Glasgow, Mont., to Norwegian immigrants Sverre and Tomine Jondahl. He had one sibling, a younger brother Leonard Jondahl.

   In his youth he helped his parents in the Jondahl Bakery, however, by high school age you couldn't keep him away from the local airport. Flying became his lifelong passion, earning his CAA Private Pilot's license from the Etchart-Markle Flying School at age 16. After graduating from Glasgow High School, Bob attended the Helena School of Aeronautics. Completing his intended training at Helena, Bob moved south to Billings for instrument flight training. Billings turned out to be a great resource for Bob, there he acquired his CAA Commercial Pilot License, Instrument Rating, plus an Instructor Rating. With his CAA certificates in hand, Bob set out to acquire flight time instructing at various flying operations in Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado.

   World War Two forced the issue of military obligation upon most young men of age. Bob opted to enter the Army Air Corps Aviation Cadet program from whence he completed pilot training with distinction. Lt. Jondahl thereafter served as a flight instructor (primary and advanced) at War Eagle Field at Lancaster, CA flying the BT-13, and later served as an Advanced Twin-Engine instructor at Williams Air Force Base in Arizona flying the B-25.

Obit Photo Bob Jondahl AAC

   After the war Bob and C.D. Markle opened a flying service in Glasgow offering instruction, charter work and selling Cessna and Stinson aircraft. On an aircraft search in Minneapolis, his good pilot friends introduced him to the love of his life, Betty McNeil. Bob and Betty were married in Havre, MT on June 15, 1947. The marriage in time brought forth three daughters: Kristine Toso, Susan Wanner, and Joyce Richards (deceased).

   On July 05, 1949, Bob was hired by Northwest Airlines. Bob flew almost everything in the NWA inventory of that era, from the famed DC- 3 to the Boeing 747 Classic. During his career tenure Bob was based in the Twin Cities, Spokane, Seattle/Tacoma, and then back to Minneapolis/St. Paul. He experienced the evolution of airliners from reciprocating multiengine airliners, to the turboprop Lockheed Electra, to the pure jets with the arrival of the Boeing 707 series and the Douglas DC-8. Bob’s piloting skills became obvious at NWA, leading to his qualifications as an instructor/check airman. Bob was selected for the initial cadre of NWA instructors trained on the 747 by Boeing at Seattle. He was also captain on the first 747 acceptance/delivery flight from Seattle to Minneapolis in 1971. Bob retired as a 747 Classic captain and instructor after 34 years of service.

   In retirement, Bob used much of his spare time and mechanical skills to restore several Cessna-180s to perfection at his hanger at Flying Cloud Airport (FCM).  Bob personal airplane was a much prized Red and White Cessna 180. His rebuild projects were also painted Red and White to replicate his own favorite and no doubt finely tuned to near new condition.

   A few years into retirement Bob and Betty purchased a house in Mesa, AZ to spend the winters. For years they enjoyed getting together with numerous other retired NWA couples who also wintered there. It is not widely known that Bob did in fact enjoy golfing.

   Bob was extremely proud of his Glasgow, Montana roots, and he treasured his lifetime friendship with Kenny Newton, the Markles, the Etcharts, and so many others.

   Bob was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 66 years Betty; daughter Joyce Richards; and brother Leonard Jondahl. He is survived by son-in-law Edward Richards; daughters Kristine Toso (Milton) and Susan Wanner (Tom); grandsons Erik (Suzannah) Toso and John (Sally) Toso; and great-grandchildren, Kenley, Niko and Rory Toso.

(-Jondahl Family and Bill Day)