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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Donald Scott Mackay
1938 ~ 2020
Captain Donald Mackay, age 82, passed away on September 8, 2020.
Don was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1938, the eldest child of Don and Agnes Bennet. They, along with Don's younger brother Paul, moved to Long Beach, CA in the early 40's, where Don's sister Sandy was born. Don's mother later remarried a merchant mariner Frank Mackay soon after Don's youngest sister Jeanne was born.
Growing up in Whittier, California, Don worked in his father's restaurant where he developed a love of cooking and spent his teenage years building an airplane with his best friend Lonny Hoskins. The daring duo lived on the edge, pushing the boundaries of adventure and relatively harmless mischief, particularly from the vantage and access their home-built airplanes offered. It seems fitting that Don's future career parth as a pilot took him to the Alaska bush where he adverted disasters and walked away from plane crashes more than once over the years.
Don flew a Cessna 140, an Aeronaca and other small planes while a student at East Los Angeles Junior College, before moving to Seattle in 1958 to start his aviation career. During his early career Don flew for Alaska Air, Wein Airlines, Cordova Airlines, and variouis Alaska bush operators. While in Anchorage Don met Pauline Reed. They married and had three children; Shelley, Scott and Carrie. During these years Don was also an avid SCUBA diver, earning his instructor level certification and diving (nights included) throughout the Puget Sound and beyond.
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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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Gene Lee Glenn
1939 ~ 2020
Gene Lee Glenn, age 80, of Trussville, Alabama, died at home on September 25, 2020. Gene "Slatz" Glenn was born on November 12, 1939, in Trussville, Alabama, to George A. Glenn, Sr. and Jean Searcy Glenn. He attended Hewitt High School and was graduated in 1958. He married his high school sweetheart Patricia Ann Needham Glenn in 1960. In 1962 he was graduated from Auburn University with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. Having also completed the USAF ROTC program at Auburn University, he was commissioned in the United States Air Force.
In 1963 Gene graduated from USAF pilot training and thereafter assigned to duty as an Instructor Pilot at Craig Air Force Base at Selma, Alabama, instructing in the T-33, T-37 and T-38 aircraft. In 1968 he separated from active duty and was hired by Northwest Airlines on April 08, 1968. During his NWA career Gene and flew the Boeing 707 series, 727, 747 and Douglas DC-10 aircraft, retiring as a Line Check Airman on the 747-200 in 1999. He logged over 20,000 flight hours and over nine million miles traveled.
Gene was a lifelong member of the Trussville First United Methodist Church and a forty-year member of the Pioneer Sunday School Class. He was a longtime Mason in the Georgiana Davis Lodge in Trussville.
Gene is survived by h is wife of 60 years Patricia; his son Stephen B. Glenn, his daughter Sharon G. Orr, and his son David J. Glenn; Grandchildren Jonathan, Paul, Samson, Elizabeth, Emmeline, George and Arthur; and brothers George A. Glenn, Jr., William B. Glenn , Robert S. Glenn. He is preceded in death by his parents, George A. Glenn, Sr., and Jean S. Glenn, and by his sister, Glenda Gay "Sister" Glenn.
(- Glenn family)
Robert W. Dickson
1937 ~ 2020
Captain Robert ‘Bob’ Dickson passed away on July 04, 2020 at age 82. His wife Jeanne was at his side. Jeanne mentioned that July 4th was their favorite holiday, so leave it to Bob to go out with a “bang!” Bob had a series of health issues in the last few years, Parkinson’s, and pneumonia were the official cause of death.
Bob was born to William Lucas and Dorothy Dickson on September 27, 1937. His father was well known for writing the Probate Code for the state of Oregon. He is survived by his older sister, Barbara Bell (Ross), his son Robert W. Dickson Jr, and nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Bob grew up on the lake in Lake Oswego, Oregon. He loved boating, water skiing, and swimming. Bob played high school football and winters found him on the ski team on Mt. Hood. He continued with the ski teams at the University of Oregon, joining the ATO fraternity and graduating with a major in Economics. He chose Air Force ROTC in college, explaining that he joined so he could fly instead of having to march in the Army.
After graduation Bob reported to Lackland AFB, TX for preflight training. Following preflight Bob was sent to Craig AFB, AL for (UPT) with the renown USAF Class 61-D. Upon earning his Air Force silver wings, Bob was assigned to SAC for B-52 training. He received his ‘check out’ and weapons training at Castle AFB, CA and was sent (PCS) to a permanent squadron at Fairchild, AFB, Spokane, WA.
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