Elwood ‘Woody’ Jay Herman
1921 ~ 2021
Captain Elwood ‘Woody’ Jay Herman, age 100, died August 10, 2021 at home in New Auburn, WI. Woody was born in Montrose, MN on 2/18/1921 to Alta Herman (Chafee) and Jay Herman. He was their only child.
Woody was raised in Minneapolis, MN and attended Roosevelt High School where he played football. He worked a paper route earning funds to buy a car and pay for flying lessons during the very difficult ‘Depression’ years. Together with his father, Woody, at only 16 years old, purchased a Piper J-3 Cub. With this airplane he frequently barnstormed at county fairs, giving rides for .05 per person to help pay for the plane. He acquired an instructor rating in his late teens to become one of the youngest instructors in the US at that time. Prior to WWII Woody instructed Army Air Corp students using the PT-19 from southern Texas airbases.
He married Geraldine Danielson in 1942, the same year he was hired by NWA on Dec. 24th. This began a distinguished 39-year career with NWA.
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Ronald W. Murdock
1933 ~ 2021
Captain Ron Murdock, age 87, died April 27, 2021 of esophageal cancer. Born in Cleveland, Ohio to James and Hazel Murdock. Ron had three brothers. His parents struggled with layoffs and scarce employment during the Great Depression. Ron’s father ended up supporting the family as a bus driver. One can safely describe Ron as a child of the depression.
From his early youth Ron exhibited qualities of modesty, shyness, and great intellect. A top student and class officer in his high school class. Ron often described himself as an ‘early nerd.’ After high school Ron studied at the Case Institute of Technology in Cleveland, Ohio for two years prior to entering the USN Naval Aviation Cadet (NAVCAD) program. This major step was no doubt provoked in part by Ron’s older brother James, who had opted for the USAF Aviation Cadet program and thereafter served as a USAF pilot.
Assigned to NAVCAD class 1-54 at NAS Pensacola, Ron endured the military training and excelled at flying. Most of his flight training was at/near Pensacola with advanced training at Beeville, Texas. While a cadet Ron sang in the Naval Aviation Cadet Choir. He was honored to have performed with the Cadet Choir on the famed Ed Sullivan television show along with Tony Bennett. Ron acquired his wings of Gold and was commissioned into the USMC in May of 1955 and thereafter transferred to MCAS Cherry Point, NC.
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Douglas Lowell Baker
1941 ~ 2021
Captain Douglas Baker, age 79, was one of five children raised on the family farm outside of Buffalo, New York. Doug loved to share stories of life on the farm and proudly stated that at night his mother would pull out the bottom dresser drawer and that’s where Doug would sleep.
As he often said, “The farm couldn’t run without the family and the family couldn’t survive without the farm.” The farm satisfied many of the family’s needs from housing to employment to food.
During his childhood, Doug also gained a great education on the farm, learning everything from raising livestock and growing crops to driving tractors and bulldozers and building ponds. It was also where he got his first taste of flying in a small crop duster – at the age of 13 no less. Doug’s father was a designer for Curtiss-Wright Corporation, no doubt Dad’s influence aroused Doug’s interest in aircraft. Family lore recants that Doug once sold a cow to purchase his first light aircraft.
He eventually left the farm to attend Purdue University on a swimming scholarship. Doug was an Olympic caliber swimmer and was just a couple strokes short of making the US national team. Not one to skirt serious academic studies, Doug graduated from prestigious Purdue University with a degree in Industrial Engineering. After graduation Doug took his first job with Corning Glass which lasted until he was called to active duty in the US Army.
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Wayne J. Anderson
1940 ~ 2021
Captain Wayne Joseph Anderson, age 81, of Rollins, Montana took his last flight on July 25, 2021, after a short struggle with pancreatic cancer. Born on June 25, 1940, to Reverend Oscar and Nina Olson Anderson in Fort Dodge, Iowa, Wayne was the second oldest of four children – David Anderson (who passed in 2000), Lois and Roselyn. Wayne’s mother died during childbirth. His father married Ing Nesheim when he was two years old.
True to his Viking heritage, Wayne was an avid adventurer and voyager. In the fall of 1958, after graduating from Janesville (WI) Senior High School, Wayne enrolled at St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN. During his St. Olaf tenure, he opted to leave college for a year to explore and guide in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area along the Minnesota/Canadian border. Upon returning to St. Olaf College, Wayne participated in Air Force ROTC, setting his sights on becoming an Air Force pilot.
As a student Wayne was also known to excel in college wrestling and tennis. Following graduation, he married fellow student Anne Esse whom he met at St. Olaf. In time Wayne and Anne had two sons, Sig and Eric.
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George Fredrick ‘Sarge’ Martin
1943 ~ 2021
Captain George Fredrick “Sarge” Martin, age 78, was born in 1943. He began his airline career at North Central Airlines as a DC-3 First Officer (F/O) in May of 1966. During Sarge’s flying career at North Central he flew as F/O on the DC-3, Convair 340/440 and 580 and the DC-9. In March of 1973 he checked out as Captain on the Convair 580 followed by the DC-9 in 1981. He became an instructor pilot for North Central in both airplanes shortly after first checking out as Captain.
North Central merged with Southern Airways and became Republic Airlines in July 1979. Sarge checked out as Captain on the MD-80 in 1981 and the B-727 in 1982. He became an instructor pilot on both aircraft soon after his Captain checkout.
In October of 1986 Republic and Northwest Airlines merged and Sarge became the Minneapolis Chief Pilot in April of 1987. In 1989 he moved up as NWA Director of Flying (DOF). Shortly thereafter he underwent a Captain checkout on the B-757 and B-747-400. He remained the DOF until January 1999 returning to the line until his retirement in July of 1999.Upon retirement Sarge joined the ranks of RNPA.
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Lorraine P. Potts
1925 ~ 2020
Lorraine Potts, age 95 of Hastings, Edina and Richfield, passed away November 2, 2020 of complications from old age & Covid-19. She was predeceased by her wonderful husband, Neil E. Potts. After Neil's passing Lorraine remained a RNPA member.
Lorraine was the “Energizer Bunny” and memory-maker of the family. As a child, she was known as “Little Lorraine”, the Shirley Temple of Chicago, helping support her family through the Depression, singing and dancing in theaters and nightclubs.
She devoted her life to creating remarkable experiences for her family and cultivating an astounding number of close friends. She volunteered decades of time and energy to numerous causes, including MSP Airport Foundation Travelers’s Assistance, Courage Kenny Foundation, and the American Heart Association. She was most proud of her numerous trips around the world delivering adopted children to their new families in the United States.
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