1940 ~ 2020
Captain Sigwulf Hermann, age 80, died May 25, 2020 in Seattle, three days after suffering a massive stroke.
Sig may have had one of the most unique early backgrounds of any NWA pilot. He was born March 3, 1940 in a German Army hospital at Peenemünde, Germany to Rudolf and Ruthilt (Singer) Hermann. Sig was the second of four siblings.
Rudolf Hermann, Sig’s father, was the Director of the Supersonic Wind Tunnel Laboratory for the German Army Rocket Experimental Station in Peenemünde. Sig was three years old when on the night of 17/18 August 1943, RAF Air Marshall ‘Bomber Harris’ launched a 600 aircraft raid by three RAF Air Groups against Peenemunde. This was one of the RAF’s largest bombing raids in retaliation for V-1 & V-2 rocket raids. Family lore reports that Sig’s father quickly moved his family post haste to rural Bavaria.
By the end of WWII Sig’s father was the creator of a 7,000 mph wind tunnel at Kochel, Germany in the Bavarian Alps. As the occupying Russian forces nudged ever closer to Bavaria, Rudolf Hermann initiated contact with the US Army. Once the Army realized this man was the chief aerodynamicist for the V-2 rocket, the Army flew him to Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio under the umbrella of Project Paperclip. There is no doubt that Wernher Von Braun had a role in bringing Sig’s father to Dayton. Soon thereafter Ruthilt Hermann (mother) and her two children boarded a U.S. Navy troop ship loaded with returning U.S. military personnel. At first the voyage across the Atlantic in a crowded troop ship must have been frightening, but the American G.I.s proved both kind and helpful. This was just one of many events that assured Rudolph Hermann the United States offered his family a unique opportunity for freedom for his family.
Read more: Sigwulff Hermann
Charles M. Huffaker
1936 ~ 2020
Captain Charles M. Huffaker, age 84, died May 16, 2020 at Sun Lakes, Arizona. ‘Charlie’ was born February 28, 1936 to Joseph and Fay Huffaker in Ector, Texas, 20 miles east of Sherman, Texas. He had one sibling - a sister. Charlie’s father was a draftsman/engineer at Convair Aircraft in Ft. Worth, TX.
Charlie was fascinated by objects of flight from an early age. By the third grade he was making and flying kites, this evolved into making and flying all varieties of model aircraft. Charlie attended Polytechnic High School in Ft. Worth. Where his talent for mathematics and detail led to an internship as a draftsman with Bell Helicopter while still in high school. After graduation Charlie matriculated to the University of Texas at Arlington.
Read more: Charles Huffaker
Roger D. Albertson
1937 ~ 2020
Captain Roger D. Albertson, age 83, of Lake City, Texas and Colfax, Wisconsin completed a final ‘soft landing’ on April 18, 2020 as he passed from this life to Heaven where he gets to be with Jesus forever. He died at home in Colfax, Wisconsin surrounded by his loving family.
Roger was born April 4, 1937 in Winona, MN to Orvin and Arleen Albertson. He had one older sister and brother. Roger’s father was a farmer and church custodian. His Mother was a teacher. Roger attended country grade school in Bennett Valley (Buffalo Co, WI), spent two years at Eleva-Strum High School and graduated from Eau Claire High School in 1955. Despite the move, Roger remained active in high schools; he was a notable good student who participated in school plays, he especially liked musicals, choir, tennis, and the track team.
Post high school for Roger meant St. Olaf College at Northfield, MN, and Air Force ROTC. While a student at St. Olaf College, Roger participated in a ROTC flight training program for cadets being considered for future flight training. Roger earned his private license flying off Stanton Field, just east of Northfield, MN, a historic airfield well known to many NWA pilots.
Read more: Roger D. Albertson
Dorothy Faye DeShazo
Dorothy Faye DeShazo, age 93, went to receive her final reward on Friday, August 7th, 2020. Born April 13, 1927, she was preceded in death by her parents, Gordon "Jack" and Dona "Tommie" DeShazo, brothers Robert "Bob" DeShazo and George "Pud" DeShazo. Faye is survived by her loving sister, Polly Johnson, wife of Jimmy Roy Johnson, of Leeds.
Faye was known to many Northwest Airline’s flight crew as a Flight Operations Manager, specifically, the manager of Crew Schedules at Seattle. In this capacity she was highly respected for her fairness and willingness to resolve scheduling problems. Some describe her as a ‘can do’ person. Sterling Bentsen describes Faye as, “One of the top people that ever worked for Northwest. The Crew Controller would try to cover a trip with no results, then Faye would call and you just knew if she was calling there was a real need and people would take the trip.” Faye managerial career with NWA spanned forty years. During that tenure she was based in Minneapolis, Miami, New York, Chicago and finally Seattle. She retired in 1992 to her family home in Leeds, AL.
Read more: Faye DeShazo
George Tate Blair
1942 ~ 2020
Captain George Tate Blair, age 77, of Bellevue, WA, died on April 28, 2020, at his home after a long battle with thyroid cancer. George was born on June 13, 1942 in Lewistown, Montana to Thomas and Edith Blair. He was raised on a farm in Brooks, MT and attended Fergus County High School in Lewistown, MT. It was there he met his future wife of 56 years, Judy Rolfsness. After completing high school, George attended Montana State University in Bozeman, MT. He and Judy married in 1963.
In 1964 George began flight training at Tom Herrod Flight School at Billings, MT. Herrod’s school was FAA approved and trained several future NWA pilots. George received dual instruction from future NWA pilot Sterling Bentsen. After earning his FAA licenses George applied to Northwest and traveled to MSP for an interview, but NWA turned him down for being shorter than the minimal height requirement. George grabbed his logbooks and went to United Airlines. United gave George the go ahead for Stanine testing. After learning he had survived the Stanine test, George called NWA Personnel to also inform them he had passed. Upon learning that George had passed United’s initial interviews and the Stanine, NWA told George: “You’re hired.”
Read more: Geroge Blair
Michael Allen Cummings
1936 ~ 2020
Captain Michael Cummings, age 83 of Aitkin, Minnesota and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico died Monday, July 15, 2019 in Aitkin, MN.
Michael was born January 26, 1936 in Aitkin to Francis and Oveline (Cartie) Cummings. The family moved to Brainerd, MN at a young age and there Michael attended school, graduating from Brainerd High School. He attended St. John’s University for two years and received an AA degree.
In 1956 Michael entered the USN Naval Aviation Cadet program at Pensacola, Florida. He earned his ‘Wings of Gold’ and was trained as a multi-engine pilot. One of his early duty stations was NAS Iwakuni, Japan where he met Joan E. Williamson. The couple married at Iwakuni on July 30, 1960. During their 12 years of active Naval service the couple were also stationed at Norfolk, VA, and Milton, FL; Michael also did sea duty upon the aircraft carrier USS America.
Read more: Michael Cummings