David Bruce Kollitz
1937 ~ 2020
Captain David Bruce Kollitz, age 83, of Hudson, Wisconsin, died on December 31, 2020 of complications from diabetes and lymphoma. The eldest child of Karl Wilhelm Kollitz and Clarisse Jeanette (Travillion) Kollitz, David was proud to have grown up in Thief River Falls, Minnesota, where he ran track and played hockey and the trumpet (among other activities), graduating from high school in 1955.
From Thief River Fall David moved to Minneapolis to attend the University of Minnesota. As a U. of M. college student David was a member of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity. It is ironic that future NWA pilot Richard Duxbury was a Delta Tau Delta fraternity brother. David also held a part time job delivering prescriptions for a local pharmacy. About this time in his busy life, the future wife and lifetime partner Rozanne (Peterson) entered David’s life.
In 1958 David Kollitz enlisted in the U.S. Navy as a Naval Aviation Cadet (NAVCAD). His fraternity pal Dick Duxbury received his USN commission and entered pilot training at NAS Pensacola, FL close to the same time as David. While at Pensacola, David and Dick Duxbury would spend weekends talking and debriefing about flying the T-28 in formation, gunnery, and carrier qualifications. After Pensacola both David and Dick were sent to NAS Corpus Christi for multiengine aircraft training and to enter the Navy pipleline for flying large patrol aircraft. It was at NAS Corpus Christi that David learned to the fly the Martin P5M twin piston engine seaplane. His first operational squadron was to be at NAS North Island at Coronado, CA. At this point David and Dick split career paths, David going to the west coast and Dick to the east, both were destined to meet again in the future at Northwest Airlines.
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John B. (Jack) Schricker
1926 ~ 2020
Captain John (Jack) Schricker, age 94, died peacefully in his sleep on Thursday November 19, 2020 at Trail of Orono Senior Residence in Orono, Minnesota. Jack was born February 4, 1926 in Spooner, WI., the son of John and Nora Schricker. Jack had five siblings, two who died at an early age.
Jack attended Spooner High School and as early as he could afford a model airplane kit at Ben Franklin, he would buy and build one. He did not participate in many school sports or teams, as right after the Great Depression working took precedence. One Jack’s growing up memories was when his father took him to a Shell Lake County Fair and brought Jack a barnstormer fare to fly with Charles Lindbergh.
In 1944, now a senior in high school Jack and 3 buddies skipped a day of school and took the train to Superior, WI to enlist in the Navy. Jacked served with the famed 301st Naval Construction Battalion in the western Pacific from April 1944 to December 1945. This Battalion built essential base facilities such as harbors, destroying mines and obstructions to harbors, constructing airfield and port facilities, often under combat fire conditions. The names of the Pacific WWII battle locations where the 301st served are iconic: Peleliu, Guam Tinian, Saipan, Iwo Jima.
After the World War Two, Jack used his GI Bill entitlements to attend Spartan School of Aeronautics in Tulsa, OK where he earned his mechanic and airplane pilot licenses. Northwest Airlines hired Jack as a mechanic apprentice on April 08, 1948. He was initially assigned to the hanger shops at the ‘old’ main base at St. Paul’s Holman Field. Jack excelled in his mechanic career prior to becoming a pilot, he qualified as Crew Chief, Master Mechanic, General Inspector and Flight Engineer. He was thereafter caught up in the trend setting IAM labor strike that began. January 9, 1961. The final labor agreement resulted in end of the mechanic trained Flight Engineer and the onset of the pilot qualified Second Officer.
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Douglas E. Harrison
1942 ~ 2020
Captain Doug Harrison, age 78, of Little Torch Key, Florida died on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020 due to complications from an accidental head injury sustained in October. Doug was born on January 18, 1942 in Baltimore, MD to parents Carl Lee and Rita Marie (Russo) Harrison. His father worked on the Baltimore & Ohio (B&O) Railroad and during the railroad strikes worked as a plumber. Doug had two older brothers, Donald and Lee, and an older sister Olivia. He was the youngest of the Harrison clan.
Doug grew up in Ellicott City, MD, a suburb of Baltimore located directly west of the inner harbor of Baltimore and adjacent to Catonsville. He graduated from Catonsville High School in 1960. He started an engineering program at the University of Maryland and completed an Engineering Degree (BS) while on active duty as a Naval Aviator. Doug later completed a master’s degree (MS) in paleontology from University of Minnesota while flying the line at Northwest Airlines. He was obviously a self-disciplined fellow who was into completing tasks.
Doug enlisted in the U.S. Navy in Feb. 1961. He was trained as an air traffic controller and Ground Controlled Approach Radar (GCA) specialist and served at NAS Midway Island and NAS Olathe, Kansas. On June 25, 1963 Doug entered the USN Naval Aviation Cadet pilot training program at Pensacola, Florida. On December 17, 1964 he received his Wings of Gold and his USN commission as an Ensign. His next assignment was to Naval Attack Squadron VA-66 (A-4C) at NAS Jacksonville.
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Kenneth D. Linville
1938 ~ 2020
Captain Kenneth A. Linville, age 82, died November 7, 2020 from a brain bleed in Hialeah Gardens, Florida.
Ken was born on January 04, 1938 to Kenneth A and Marilyn Linville. Ken’s father was first employed by Northwest Airlines as a link trainer instructor and eventually retired as a very senior captain on the Boeing 747 Classic at Seattle. It is not surprising that Ken Sr. inspired Ken Jr. to pursue a flying career.
Ken attended Highline High School in Burien, WA, graduating with the class of 1956. With humor Ken reports easily sliding through high school with a high-grade point average. He did not recall taking a book home while in high school. Predictably, poor study habits were his nemesis the first year at the University of Washington. “I almost flunked out of school my first year, just barely getting my grades up to the minimum required ‘C’ average to be initiated into my Sigma Chi fraternity.” He was grateful to his fraternity brothers “for taking in a skinny, naïve, grease ball high school kid with an Elvis Presley haircut and a bad attitude, shaping him into some semblance of a college man.”
In 1958 Ken met a lovely student from Oregon State - Marilyn Booth. During a spring break Marilyn brought Ken home to meet her parents. “She had a wonderful family, but paid a heavy price when she lost both her parents to heart attacks by the time she was twenty.” The two quickly bonded and on August 5, 1960, Ken - age twenty-two and Marilyn - age twenty were married. For the rest of their lives, they would not know what to do without each other.
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Ronald R. Gilbertson
1933 ~ 2020
Captain Ronald ‘Buzz’ Gilbertson, age 87, died in Mesquite, Nevada on December 06, 2020 after a long struggle with Parkinson’s and Dementia. Buzz was born January 27, 1933 in Brawley, California to George and Maxine Gilbertson. There was an older sibling, a sister. Buzz’s father was a WWII US Navy veteran which a factor in Buzz’s decision to also serve in the Navy. After WWII George Gilbertson struggled with TB and eventually moved the family to Minnesota. After recovering from TB George Gilbertson worked as a Minnesota State employee.
Buzz attended high school in Benson, Minnesota., which is west of the Twin Cities between Wilmar and the South Dakota border. He was considered a rather good student with a penchant for knowledge retention. He was an athlete, witness his skilled participation in basketball and swimming. Other activities included playing the clarinet in the school band. After high school Buzz enrolled at Gustavus College, a Lutheran liberal arts college in St. Peter, MN where he completed BA degree in Business and became a key contender on the college swim team. It was not coincidental that the year Buzz graduated from college, Gustavus College swim team won the Minnesota state swimming title.
Buzz had an uncle in Benson, MN who owned a single engine airplane. He introduced Buzz to flying and the aviation bug bit hard. In 1954 the military draft was still a reality for healthy young males. Now completing college, Buzz was prime for being drafted into the Army. Consistent with his father’s WWII legacy, Buzz entered the USN Officer Training School. Upon earning his commission, now Ensign Gilbertson began his preflight training at NAS Pensacola. His advanced flight training was at NAS Olathe at Gardner, Kansas. Buzz was named the outstanding graduate for his pilot training class. During his active-duty service, Buzz flew the legendary Douglas AD (A-1E) reciprocating engine single engine fighter. One of his claims to fame is to have never had a bolter or missed approach on a carrier landing. He was born to fly.
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Carl ‘Don’ Hegseth
1931 ~ 2020
Captain Carl Hegseth, age 89, died Sunday, November 1, 2020, at The Family Residence in Northfield, Minnesota. Carl was born August 24, 1931 on the family farm in Kenyon Township, Goodhue County Minnesota, the son of Carl J. and Emma (Remold) Hegseth. Carl’s father was a Minnesota farmer. He had one sibling, his brother Peter, who also a Northwest Airline pilot.
Carl attended Kenyon High School and when not doing farm chores played basketball on the high school team. The Hegseth boys grew up deep into rural Minnesota farm culture. When Carl was ten years old a barnstormer visited Kenyon, offering air rides for ten cents a flight. Carl asked his parents for permission to take a flight with the barnstormer, but they told him no. Without telling his parents Carl mustered up the ten cents and was soon tucked away in the back of the barnstormer’s plan. After his first flight he was hooked.
Soon after his 1949 high school graduation Carl came under the close surveillance of the local draft board. On June 25, 1950 while shopping with his mother, Carl heard about the North Korean Army crossing the 38th parallel. He decided then and there he was going to enlist in the Air Force. After basic training Carl was trained as a ground equipment mechanic. He served during the Korean Conflict; however, he was assigned to Whellus Air Base in Libya, North Africa and not to South Korea. After completing his overseas tour of duty Carl returned to Duluth AFB, Minnesota where he was stationed until his date of discharge. After his return to Minnesota a strong relationship developed with Erma Maisel and on January 14, 1956 the couple married.
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