Thomas H. Adams Jr.
1936 ~ 2020
Captain Tom Adams, age 83, died from Corona-19 virus on Saturday, May 16 at a hospital in College Station, Texas. Due to other looming health issues Tom was not able to fight the virus for long.
Tom was born in Joplin, Missouri to Harry and Treva Melanne Adams. The first born of two, Tom had a younger sister Donna Dobbins. Those of us who knew Tom categorized him as an exceptional aviator. Perhaps this should come as no surprise as Tom’s father was a WWII P-47 instructor and Korean War F-86 Wing Maintenance Commander.
The family eventually moved to the Seattle area where Tom attended Cleveland High School. He was known as an average to strong student who participated in the school Drama Club. While in high school student Tom began flight instruction under the tutelage of his instructor father. Graduating from high school Tom matriculated onto Central Washington College of Education at Ellensburg, WA. To finance his studies Tom flew contract crop dusting in a 450 hp Stearman.
After three years at Central WA College of Education, Tom enlisted in the US Marine Corps as a MARCAD (Marine Corps Aviation Cadet). He completed preflight and primary at NAS Pensacola followed by Advanced flight training at NAS Beeville, TX. Tom completed his carrier qualification on the USS Antietam. During his training he flew the T-34, T-28, T2J, F9F-8, and the F-11F. After earning his wings, Tom was assigned to VMA-225 (USS Enterprise) flying the A4D. VMA-225 was the first Marine squadron to deploy aboard the USS Enterprise CVAN 65 and he was aboard the "Big E" during the 1962 Cuban Crisis. Tom knew the meaning of being ‘on a war footing.’
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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.
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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.
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Clarence E. Hitchcock
1938 ~ 2020
Captain Clarence Eugene Hitchcock, age 81, died on May 25, 2020.. For Gene Hitchcock of Laurens, Iowa it all started with a kiddy-corner cut across the state of Iowa, by-passing Iowa State University at Ames, to reach Iowa City and enroll in the Air Force ROTC at the University of Iowa. Following graduation, and with a new Air Force commission, Gene journeyed to Reese Air Force base just outside of Lubbock, Texas to commence pilot training in class 64-C. It was love at first sight for Gene as they were the first class to start in the beautiful T-38 trainer. Gene also fell in love with a Texas Tech student, Suzanne Montague of Beaumont, Texas. After getting his wings, Gene and Suzanne married and headed to Fairchild AFB in Spokane where he would be flying the B-52. It could be said Gene fell in love with every airplane he flew. During those military days Gene deployed to Anderson AFB in Guam and flew into Vietnam with Operation Arc Light.
While in Spokane Gene, and Suzanne’s two children, Kathryn and Harold “Hal” were born. Nearing the end of his military commitment, Gene started looking at the hiring airlines as he found a home with the big planes. Northwest was the first to invite him in for an interview and give him a pass. He liked what he saw.....more Boeing aircraft! They quickly moved to the Twin Cities and joined up in November 06, 1967.
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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.
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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.”
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