Ross E. Kramer
1939 ~ 2021
Captain Ross Kramer, age 81, born Dec. 31, 1939, and hired by NWA on July 07, 1969.
In the words of NWA Captain Michael J. Garrison.
“A part of me died on September 13,2021 with the Flying West of "The Bear", Ross Kramer. He and I grew up in Seattle, Washington, graduated from Queen Anne High School where we played football together, followed by attending the University of Washington. "The Bear" was a gentle giant of tremendous accomplishments.
Following six years of active duty in the "junior varsity"(USAF), he resigned with a pocket full of medals, including the Silver Star for his service in Vietnam. Ross joined Northwest Airlines, but was soon laid off during the strike prone 1970s. He was the junior most pilot protected in the 1978 pilot contract.
During his eight-year layoff Ross attended William Mitchell Law School. After passing the Bar, he co-founded Messerli Kramer and Associates, which became a prestigious Twin Cities law firm. In an early career case, Ross represented the surviving families of an Air Force Reserve crash near the now decommissioned Sawyer Air Base in Michigan, and successfully sued the U.S. Government.
Read more: Ross E. Kramer
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.
Read more: Elwood 'Woody' Herman
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.
Read more: Sarge Martin
Norman Edward Midthun
1924 ~ 2021
Captain Norman Midthun, age 96, died July 24, 2021. Norm was born in Minneapolis on August 18, 1924 to Pauline Marie (Leknes) and Edward Maynard Midthun, his mother died following his brother's birth 18 months later. In his early childhood Norman lived in Bricelyn, MN; later moving back to northeast Minneapolis.
In 1933, during the Great Depression, at age twelve Norm started working in a meat market and soon learned the value of work and saving money. He was the youngest journeyman meat cutter in Minneapolis at age 15. Norm saved enough from his wages to purchase a prized Schwinn bike that he rode to school and work in all seasons; that bicycle now resides in the MN Historical Society. Norm’s grandparents on both sides were born in Norway and along with his high school Norwegian teacher, Ben Eggen, he was informed about what was happening in Norway during the initial stages of WWII.
Read more: Norman E. Midthun
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.
Read more: Wayne J. Anderson