Robert T. Loveridge
1936 ~ 2021
Captain Robert T. Loveridge, age 84, of Spokane Valley, Washington died of Covid-19 on December 17, 2020. Bob Loveridge was born in Carlisle, Pennsylvania on August 4, 1936. His parents moved to Montana when he was a small boy and he remained there until he entered the Air Force Academy. Bob was the youngest of five siblings: two sisters and three brothers. The family resided in the unincorporated town of Ramsay just west of Butte, Montana and Bob grew up a quasi-ranch/farm kid. Bob’s father worked as a traveling salesman.
Bob was a good student and athlete in high school, he participated in football and boxing. He won many awards boxing in Golden Gloves competition. After high school Bob was awarded an appointment to the Air Force Academy (AFA), then located at Lowry AFB - Denver, Colorado. On 11 July 1955, Robert Loveridge, and 306 other USAF Academy cadets, were sworn in as the first class of the new Air Force Academy. While at the AFA he further developed his skills at boxing and served with distinction on the AFA boxing team. After graduation Bob reported to Undergraduate Pilot Training (UPT) at Reese AFB at Lubbock, Texas. He did well and earned his wings in June 1960. The Air Training Command chose to retain Bob at Reese AFB as an instructor pilot in the T-37 and T-38 aircraft.
The instructor’s path was his destiny; when he retired from Northwest Airlines in 1996, he was a Boeing 747 ‘Classic’ instructor. In between, he lived an interesting and varied life – left the Air Force, married, ran a ranch, owned a couple of businesses, had kids, served in the Vietnam War, divorced, had an airline pilot career, remarried, and gained a bunch of extended family.
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Milburn J. ‘Mel’ Holmes
1939 ~ 2021
Captain Mel Holmes, age 81, passed away peacefully at home in Escondido, California on February 9th, 2021. He succumbed to cancer.
Mel was born October 12, 1939 in La Grande, Oregon to Milburn Jay and Betty Mae Holmes, Mel was the older of two sons. His father served in the Navy as a sniper during WWII, thereafter a career employee with Union Pacific Railroad.
As a student at La Grande High School, Mel lettered in basketball and baseball. His athletic talents earned him an athletic scholarship to Eastern Oregon University (EOU). His college studies concentrated in the sciences culminating in a Bachelor of Science degree, Spring, 1961. It is noteworthy that in 2006 Mel became the first recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award from Eastern Oregon University.
Mel genuinely loved baseball. The Pittsburg Pirates recruited him for their minor league team, but his desire to become a Naval aviator preempted baseball. Having given up on playing major league baseball, Mel began the long cross-country trip from Oregon to Florida. The events to follow would radically change his life.
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Otto Everett ‘Ev’ Tessmer
1932 ~ 2020
Captain Otto Everett Tessmer, age 88, passed away peacefully in Alexandria, MN on Friday, November 27, 2020. “Sweet Loveable Evy” (as he liked to be called) was born on April 27, 1932, in Alexandria Minnesota to Otto and Sofy (Haugdahl) Tessmer. On April 18, 1959, he married Mary Jill Fordham. They raised a son, John, and two daughters, Paula and Karla.
Everett’s extensive flying career began with the Navy in 1954. He spent most of his Naval career instructing in Pensacola Florida. Everett claimed that his navy career saved him after two attempts at obtaining a college degree, one at the University of Minnesota and another at St. Olaf in Northfield, MN. When asked why he left these institutions, he would reply, “I was not kicked out. Rather, I was asked to never return.”
After leaving the Navy in late 1957, Everett was hired by Northwest Airlines on February 12, 1958. He flew as Captain on the 727, 707 & DC-10. During his thirty-five year airline career, Everett served as a respected Instructor and the FAA-designated Check Airman for orals and type ratings on the DC10. In 1970, he was elected by ALPA (Airline Pilots Association) to serve on the Master Executive Council at Northwest Airlines. Everett retired from NWA in April 1992, at that time he was the senior pilot on the DC-10.
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William ‘Bill’ Larue Kullman
1938 ~ 2021
Captain Bill Kullman, age 82, died January 16, 2021 at Culver, Oregon. He was born in Pasadena, CA.
Bill graduated from Diablo Valley College (Pleasant Hill, CA) in 1959 with an Associate of Arts Degree. In 1961 he elected to attend one of this country’s oldest aviation schools – Spartan School of Aeronautics in Tulsa, OK. At Spartan he received advanced ground school training, flight training for Commercial Pilot and the Instrument Rating. His first solo flight was on 8/02/1961 from Tulsa Intl. to Riverside Airport.
After graduating from Spartan School of Aeronautics, Bill was employed at Skyways Fight Services in Troutdale, Oregon as a contract pilot and flight instructor. He formed a group for teenagers called “SkyTeens” and several of the members eventually had careers in Aviation.
Bill fulfilled the military commitment common to his era by serving in the US Army. He was honorably discharged September 30, 1963. His citations include Expert Marksman designation.
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Gabriel James Fernandez
1942 ~ 2020
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Gabriel James Fernandez, the first-born-son to Gabriel Jesus Fernandez and Polly Nunes Fernandez on December 7, 1942. This unique and loving soul was born to fly. He set his sights on the prize while working at Valley Fair Market in San Jose, CA during his young years. Every paycheck went to pay for flying lessons starting at 16 yrs old. He graduated from San Jose State, and served in the Air National Guard. His dream was fulfilled October 10, 1966 when he was accepted into the Pilot Training program with Northwest (Orient) Airlines. He loved being an Airline Pilot and was very fortunate to be with the same airline his entire career, and fly with extraordinary people, many of whom became lifelong friends. Captain Fernandez retired from NWA January 31, 2002.
His personal life was full of his larger-than-life passion of flying 6-8 airplanes of his own, even restoring from the frame up a 1928 Travel-Air Bi-Plane. Many of his planes he had for 30-40 years as well as doing his own maintenance on with the help of his friend, Merle. He was a regular fixture around Arlington then Paine Field, known not just as a retired Captain but as a trusted, tried and true Aviator, always a source of flying facts and Aviation History.
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Carl Richard Simmons, Sr.
1938 ~ 2021
Captain Carl Richard Simmons, Sr., age 82, passed away unexpectedly on January 29, 2021 in Orange Beach, Alabama. He was born 03 May, 1938 in Hannibal, Missouri and was preceded in death by his parents, Carl Burk Simmons and Mary Elizabeth Montgomery Simmons of Monroe City, MO.
Carl graduated from Holy Rosary High School in Monroe City, MO. in 1956. He was active in the local community and in the Boy Scouts of America, where he achieved the distinguished rank of Eagle Scout. Soon after finishing high school, he left for Columbia, Missouri and the University of Missouri where he received degrees in Civil Engineering, Astronomy and Mathematics. He completed 4 years of Air Force ROTC and reached the rank of Cadet Colonel. Upon graduation he was commissioned a 2nd LT. in the USAF.
After graduation, Carl worked for the Boeing Airplane Co., in Seattle, Washington until he entered active duty in June 1961 at Williams AFB, Arizona.
At Williams AFB, he began undergraduate pilot training and earned his wings in June 1962. From Arizona he went to Tinker AFB, Oklahoma to Advanced Multi-Engine Pilot Training. In December 1962 he left the States for a two year assignment to Yokota AB, Japan [flying the RB-50]. While in Japan, he flew reconnaissance aircraft within the entire Far-East Theatre, protecting the country he loved so dearly.
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