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Willi J. Geiselmann

Willi J. Geiselmann, transitioned peacefully on Wednesday morning, January 17, 2018, surrounded by his loving family. He was born in Pforzheim, Germany on March 19, 1926 to Josef Geiselmann and Ida Geiselmann (nee Rupp).

Prior to emigrating to America, Willi was trained as a goldsmith and silversmith. After arriving in St. Louis, he worked as a surgical instrument maker for Storz Instrument company for over 30 years. Willi had an early interest in flying from his youth serving in the German Luftwaffe and brought that interest here, becoming an FAA examiner and flight instructor and helping to grow the sport of Soaring in the midwest. He was a member of the St. Louis Soaring Association and the Soaring Society of America for over 50 years. Later becoming a founding member of the Silvercreek Soaring Club. During his time here he started the St. Louis Soaring School and taught many people to become pilots and fly gliders. He earned many achievement awards for flying sailplanes and was always eager to share his interest of the sport with others.

Willi also had a lifelong love of model railroading and was an avid collector of electric model trains. He was active in the Train Collector Association and Garden Railway Club. His passion of restoring and repairing antique trains and those years spent collecting culminated in an impressive collection he was very proud to own and display.

Those left to cherish his memory include his wife of 62 years, Elizabeth Geiselmann (nee Schaefer); his son Willie Geiselmann; daughter-in-law Stephanie Geiselmann; his grandchildren Alexander Geiselmann and Andrew Geiselmann; his sister Louise Bazner and brother Ernst Geiselmann and wife Ella; his cousin Marilyn Lyons (nee Geiselmann); in-laws Knut and Margaret Heise; Katheryn Scheffel and many nieces and nephews of his extended family. Services: Graveside service will be at 9:00 a.m. on Friday, January 19 at Mount Hope Cemetery on Lemay Ferry Rd in South St. Louis County. Kutis Funeral Home of Affton is entrusted with arrangements.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Soaring Society of America

Posted: 1/24/2018

Bruce R. Wilbee

Bruce R. Wilbee, age 51, passed away Sunday November 26, 2017. He was born to Robert and Shirley Wilbee in Buffalo, NY, they moved to Las Cruces, NM where Bruce was raised. He was a graduate of Colorado State University, and was an avid glider pilot, he also loved to travel the world. Bruce enjoyed spending many hours on the baseball field with his son Ryan. He is survived by his loving wife Ann, son Ryan, parents Robert and Shirley Wilbee, and brother Richard (Dena) Wilbee. He was preceded in death by his sister Lauren. A Memorial Visitation will be 4:00-7:00 P.M. Thursday, November 30, 2017 at Yurs Funeral Home, 1771 W. State St. (Route 38), Geneva, IL 60134. A Memorial Service will follow the visitation at 7:00 P.M. at Yurs Funeral Home. To leave an online condolence or remembrance to the family, visit the funeral homes' obituary page at www.yursfuneralhomes.com. For more information, please call Yurs Funeral Home Geneva, 630-232-7337.

Published in Chicago Suburban Daily Herald on Nov. 29, 2017

Posted: 12/15/2017

Vernon Frye

All of us who learned the art of cross country soaring  from him and became his friend will never forget him.  I can't think of anyone more admired by all who met him, than Vern Frye.  Vern was responsible for the tradition of assigning 'bird' names to the pilots of NSA and Airsailing.  He spent literally thousands of hours in the pursuit of promoting soaring, training new and old pilots, flying tow planes, maintaining the fleet of club aircraft,  flying tow planes, and organizing.

Vern may have done more to promote soaring than anyone in the world, starting or promoting soaring clubs in places ranging from the USAF Academy to the Berlin Tempelhof Aerodrome in Germany,  where he served a tour of duty as  the commanding officer of our USAF base there.  

Vern was prominently featured in retired General Bell's book about the air war in Vietnam, "One Hundred Missions North."  It is a very good book, and has some entertaining stories about Vern, who bunked with the author while they were flying combat missions out of jungle strips. (Vern actually flew 106 missions north, exceeding the required limit by six, which was so typical of  him).

Posted: 9/19/2017

Roy M. Coulliette

Roy M. Coulliette passed away March 8, 2017 after a short hospital stay. Roy was native to Florida who moved to Phoenix with his family in 1954. He is survived by his long time companion, Ruth Wallace, son Mathew Coulliette, brothers Don (Sue) Coulliette and Maxwell (Joan) Coulliette along with many beloved nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, Albert and Leona, stepmother Virginia, former wife, Darlene, his sisters Alma Sue Coulliette, Patricia Bradley, brother Charles Scheuler, sons Chad (Siblut) Coulliette and Keith Coulliette. Roy was a lifetime member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

An avid flyer, roy founded Turf Soaring School in Peoria, where he built Pleasant Valley Airport and RV Park, teaching thousands the joy of soaring. He trained many pilots for the military, airlines, fire bombing, crop dusting and pleasure. Roy was inducted into the Arizona Aviation Hall of Fame in 2004. He was an active member of the Deer Valley Connections, Captain in the Civil Air Patrol, and a member of Toast Masters.

Roy sailed and traveled extensively with his long time partner, Ruth. He enjoyed working with Boy Scouts in the Lake Pleasant District and was recognized by the District Hall of Fame for continuous dedication in service to the Boy Scouts of America in January 2016.

For adventure, he sailed, scuba dived, rode horseback, aeronautical maintenance and was a helicopter pilot. Roy could be seen driving his immaculately-kept bronco sporting the name Turf Soaring Adventures, wearing his blue jeans and white shirt. Roy was never deterred or limited by the obstacles he faced. He will be missed by his family and all those who came to know Roy as a friend.

Posted: 4/12/2017

William B. Carmody

William B. Carmody, 76, of Neptune, NJ, passed away peacefully on Saturday, December 10, 2016, at Jersey Shore University Medical Center, Neptune. Bill was born and raised in Queens, N.Y. He received his bachelor's degree from St. Francis College in Brooklyn and his M.B.A. from Seton Hall. He moved to New Jersey, eventually buying a home in the Shark River Hills section of Neptune, where he raised his family. He served his country in the United States Army from 1963 to 1965. In civilian life, Bill again served his country, working for the Department of Defense at Fort Monmouth for thirty-five years and retiring in 2000. He enjoyed woodworking and traveling with his wife. He had a passion for aviation, flying both powered planes and his true love, gliders. For many years Bill served as treasurer and as a CFI-G for the Central Jersey Soaring Club (CJSC), and he could always be found on a summer weekend at the airport. Bill gave his time and energy unstintingly to the CJSC, and is fondly remembered by many former members. But more than anything else, Bill loved his wife of forty-eight years, and his children and grandchildren. He was quiet, but his feelings ran deep and strong. Bill was both a gentleman and a gentle man.

Bill was predeceased by his brother, P.J. Carmody, and a brother-in-law, John Harrington. He is survived by his wife, Una; two children, Dennis Carmody and his wife, Debra, of Freehold Township and Eileen Shaklee and her husband, Richard, of Wall; three grandchildren, Will, Carolyn and George; a brother-in-law, Brendan Harrington and his wife, Maryanne, of Holmdel; his siblings, Brendan Carmody and Helen Plante; and many nieces and nephews.

Memorial contributions in Bill's name may be made to the Food Bank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties, 3300 Route 66, Neptune NJ 07753, or www.foodbankmoc.org.

Posted: 1/19/2017

William Schweizer

Age 98 of Elmira passed away peacefully at his home on January 8, 2016 surrounded by his loving family. His wife of 57 years, Margaret "Peg" Hardy Schweizer preceded him in death in May 2001. He is survived by three sons and a daughter, and their spouses: William Stuart and Lucia Schweizer of Elmira, Paul Hardy and Lauren Schweizer of Phoenix, AZ, John Schweizer and Jennifer Lucas of Burlington, VT, and Gayle Schweizer and Jack Colegrove of Bainbridge Island, WA. Bill also leaves ten grandchildren: Kristina Schweizer Cadwallader, Amy Schweizer Lichtensztajn, Peter Stuart Schweizer, Jordan Hardy Schweizer, Gareth Schweizer Smith, Brettan Schweizer Martelle, Quinn Schweizer Apuzzo, Hannah McHale Schweizer, Caitlin Nora Colegrove and Claire Hardy Colegrove; and eight great-grandchildren: Colson Hires Cadwallader, Jed Ari Lichtensztajn, William Kennedy Schweizer, Daniel Finn Schweizer, Evalyn Whitney Smith, Oliver Berrien Smith, Goldie Gareth Schweizer and Neve Stowell Martelle.

Bill was born on E. 57th Street in New York City on December 7, 1917, the son of Paul Schweizer and Emma Bader Schweizer. His mother died in 1923 and his father in 1957. His two brothers, Ernest and Paul A. Schweizer of Elmira, and his two sisters, Emma Schweizer Martinez of Horseheads and Helen Schweizer Pataki of Peekskill, NY predeceased him.

Bill grew up in Peekskill where he lettered in football, track and tennis. He won awards for scholarship, character and athletics and was voted All Hudson League fullback. He then went to Syracuse University where his football career ended following a knee injury. Majoring in science, he was president of the Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity and graduated in 1941. Between 1948 and 1950 he attended New York University's Business School where he pursued a Master's Degree in Industrial Management.

Bill's business career always focused on aviation, his true passion. He worked with his brothers at Schweizer Aircraft during the war years as its production manager. In 1946 and 1947, he was the assistant manager of Commonwealth Aircraft Corp. on Long Island. During the time he was pursing his Master's Degree, he also was an industrial management instructor at what is now NY State University at Farmingdale. In 1951 he returned to Schweizer Aircraft where he became an equal partner in the ownership and management of the company along with his brothers, Ernie and Paul. He retired from Schweizer Aircraft in 1982 after the ownership and management of the company was transferred to the next generation of Schweizers: Stuart, Leslie E., and Paul H.

During his years at Schweizer Aircraft the company evolved into one of the foremost manufacturers in the world of sailplanes and agricultural spray aircraft. Schweizer produced over 2100 sailplanes and 2600 Ag-Cat agricultural aircraft. Bill's primary focus was production management. He also was responsible for the company's subcontract business, through which Schweizer produced components for nearly every major aerospace company. After the company's purchase of the Model 269 helicopter from Hughes Helicopters in 1983, Bill retired and devoted himself to public service, writing, painting and enjoying time with his family.

Of great importance to Bill was his commitment to the Elmira community which included service on the West Elmira Board of Education from 1954-1957; involvement with the National Soaring Museum from its inception; and service as a Director of the Elmira Savings Bank from 1966 through 1996, including as its Chairperson from 1984 through 1987. Bill also served on the Board of Directors of S. F. Iszard Company from 1982 through 1990 and served on the Board of Directors of Arnot Ogden Hospital from 1969 to 1998 and as its Chairman from 1983 through 1987. Bill and Peg's generous contribution helped fund the Medical Center's Schweizer Pavilion, completed in 2005.

Bill received many acknowledgements for his business and service achievements including: the Boy Scout's Distinguished Citizen Award (1984); a Lifetime Achievement Award from the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration); induction into the National Soaring Hall of Fame (1984); and into the Peekskill High School Hall of Honors (1998). In 1998 he received the Exceptional Achievement Award from the Soaring Society of America and in 2010 Harris Hill Soaring and the National Soaring Museum held the "Bill Schweizer Day" to honor his contributions.

Bill took great pleasure in his activities, life with his family, and lived his life with kindness, integrity and a delightful sense of humor. Bill was involved with many clubs and organizations including Park Church, Elmira Country Club, Elmira City Club, and the Elmira Rotary Club. After retiring he wrote three aviation related books. At the age of 85 he began painting in his own unique "American Primitive" style.

Bill's flying career started when he taught himself to fly in 1930 in the first Schweizer glider. He was a lifelong pilot of sailplanes and single-engine airplanes. He loved athletics and actively skied, played tennis and golf, and supported the New York Football Giants.

Family and friends are invited to The Park Church, 208 W. Gray Street, Elmira, NY 14901, at 3:00 P.M. on Wednesday, January 13, 2016 for a Memorial Service to celebrate the life of Bill Schweizer. In lieu of flowers, those wishing to remember Bill may do so with a donation to the National Soaring Museum, 51 Soaring Drive, Elmira, NY 14903 or Arnot Health Foundations, P O Box 1512, Elmira, NY 14902-9935.

Posted: 1/13/2016

William Russell Moore

"Bill" Moore made his final glide on April 29th, 2015, after a truly remarkable & adventurous life ....

He was raised in Ontario, Canada while the war was raging in Europe. Meanwhile, young Bill watched as enthusiastic men joined the RCAF. Many enlisted due to the aviation heroes of that era ... Lindberg, etc. Later, dad observed a "Gypsy Moth" bi-plane barnstorm low over his backyard ... the seeds of a lifelong passion had been planted.

After establishing a family and a successful TV/radio repair business, Dad's quest for adventure had us packing up the 1960 VW bus & immigrating to the promise land ... San Diego, California.

A few years later ... while driving down highway 101 near Torrey Pines, dad & I were astonished by the sight of a glider flying majestically along a steep cliff that overlooks the ocean. Before I knew it, dad had the old Rambler fishtailing up a dusty road leading to a flight shack surrounded by gliders. Wow ... what a great day! After our 1st flight, we both knew that we had forged a long lasting bond through a shared enthusiasm for aviation.

Life was good. By 1966, dad had joined the AGCSC glider club where he happily met Janet, his second wife. Over the years he held various club positions including managing a Torrey Pines meet in the early 70's. He also became a lifetime member with SSA, accomplished the Gold altitude gain and earned his Silver C badge.

Prior to retirement, dad spent 10 yrs. hand building a "Gypsy" U/L from plans, conceived by pioneer designer John Chota. The aircraft now proudly resides in the "Yanks Air Museum", in Chino, California. After retirement from General Atomics as a nuclear reactor electrical engineer, he spontaneously bought a Cessna 150. His humorous solo T-shirt reads, "DID IT WITH AN ENGINE".

Over the coming years, "Juliet" (his beloved C-150), became his magic carpet ride. Every year dad came to visit us during the EAA Arlington Fly-in & one summer, actually flew Juliet here. Dad took great joy in assisting our family's aircraft repair business during those bustling air shows. Going on dawn patrol around the San Jaun Islands spotting killer whales was another enjoyable activity.

He lived the dreams of his youth & will be remembered by his unique, kind character that enjoyed sharing his passion for aviation.

"High Flight" was his favorite poem & I'll close his life story with a quote from just the first line, "Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth and danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings"

My sisters, Lu-ann Coe & Lynda Lewis, and myself would greatly appreciate any photos or stories that you would be willing to share. Better yet, once a firm date has been set, please come join us at the "Flight Shack" at Torrey Pines to celebrate his life and good times.


Posted: 6/24/2015

Michael E. McCarron

Michael E. McCarron passed away on August 15th, 2014 at the age of 73. His first love was flying.  He spent nine years in the Air Force as a navigator, and learned to fly in their club. After returning to school to earn a degree in Aeronautical Engineering, he flew hang gliders and then sailplanes with his wife, Lurana (Lori). He was instrumental in starting the Saratoga Soaring Association, where he served as instructor, tow pilot, and mechanic. He loved flying in contests, especially in Mifflin, PA, Elmira, NY, and New Castle, VA. Now he has his wings.

Posted: 8/27/2014

Ray Fanchamps

Ray A. Fanchamps, 62, a mainstay at Sylvania Soaring in Wisconsin and a clockmaker by trade, ended his battle against brain cancer on July 11, 2014. He passed peacefully at home with his wife Carol Surowy at his side, as she has been since their college days at the UK’s University of Sussex.

Ray and Carol moved to the US in 1981, settling briefly in St. Louis and Cleveland before moving to Madison, Wisconsin in 1985. There, Ray put his psychology and philosophy degrees to work, counseling troubled teens and he apprenticed as a clockmaker. A move to the Philadelphia area in 1991 advanced Carol’s career in biomedical research and also introduced Ray to the world of soaring. He earned private glider and airplane ratings at Kutztown, where one of his favorite activities was wave soaring near Hawk Mountain.

In 1995, the couple re-located near Sturtevant Wisconsin, close to Carol’s new position at Abbott Labs and even closer to Sylvania Airport, the original home of Sylvania Soaring. There, Ray earned his commercial glider rating and ground instructor certification, he joined the staff and declared the Lark his favorite ride machine. He was certainly a stand-out for his Yorkshire accent, his charm and a fondness for Monty Python-esque humor, but as we also came to realize, a curious combination of candor, exuberance, and determination were Ray’s underlying trademarks.

By then, Ray’s fascination with antique clocks had grown into a business, and his manufacturing skills, his knowledge of their history and the multiple mechanisms used to make these time pieces attracted customers worldwide. Ray served as an officer at local, Regional and National levels of the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors, and went on to chair the ad hoc committee charged with development of NAWCC’s online information resources.

Every weekend during our April through November season, however, Ray’s passion was soaring and he was a driving force at the airfield - if he wasn’t taking rides, giving ground instruction or updating the Sylvania Soaring website, he ran the line or helped with maintenance chores. With the 2002 addition of a G-103SL to Sylvania’s fleet, Ray had a new favorite ride machine, and he earned his CFIG in order to provide self-launch flight training in it. A year later, Sylvania Soaring owner Steve Stauber bought the privately-owned Beloit Airport, and the glider operation moved 70 miles west, to its current home. 

Ray soon found an alternative to his 280-mile drive each weekend - he refurbished a derelict travel trailer, parked it near the glider hangar and dubbed his weekend digs “The Chateau.” At sunset on any given soaring day in the past decade, the Chateau was the gathering place for staff and customers alike - a cookout often followed, as we reviewed the day’s events and told tales of our past soaring adventures and those planned for the future.

Mid-May this year marked Ray’s last weekend at the Chateau, and while we are saddened by the loss of our inimitable Yorkshireman, we move forward with cherished memories of our remarkable friend and mentor.

 -       Contributed by Judy Ruprecht

Posted: 8/18/2014

Harold Hal E. Klieforth

Harold “Hal” E. Klieforth

Chief Meteorologist, Sierra Wave Project

   Harold Klieforth, the Chief Meteorologist for the Sierra Wave Project of the early 1950s, passed away at St Mary's Hospital in Reno on July 15 at the age of 87. Hal held, with Larry Edgar, the multi-seat altitude records (since superseded): Absolute altitude: 13,489 meters (44,260 feet) on March 19, 1952 flying a Pratt Read PR-G1, N63174, Bishop, California; Gain of height: 10,493 meters (34,420 feet) on the same flight. For further details on the Sierra Wave Project see the book by Robert F. Whelan,Exploring the Monster.

   At the time of his passing, Klieforth was a Research Meteorologist and Climatologist, Emeritus, at the Desert Research Institute (DRI) & University of Nevada (UNR), Reno. He was born in San Francisco on July 6, 1927. He was educated at Tamalpais High School, Marin College and the University of California at Berkeley and Los Angeles. He served in the U.S. Army during 1945 and 1946. Klieforth was on the staff of the UCLA Meteorology Department from 1950 to 1956 during which time he also served with the Sierra Wave Project. He was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship at Imperial College, London from 1956 to 1957. He then joined the Air Force Cambridge Research Laboratory from 1958 to 1964, serving at Edwards Air Force base in charge of special aircraft (including the U-2) for atmospheric studies. He spent weekends at home in Bishop, CA with his family and enjoying his mountaineering and environmental studies. From 1965 to 1994 he was an Atmospheric Research Scientist with DRI and UNR. After his retirement in 1994 he continued with DRI as an active colleague and student mentor visiting DRI frequently throughout the years including as recently as last month.

   His most recent contact with our sport of soaring was at the Reno 2014 Convention where he reported on his research. In the years 1950 to 1956 the U.S. Air Force sponsored a pioneering study of airflow over mountains (Sierra Wave Project and follow-ons) which featured a partnership between the UCLA Meteorology Department, the Southern California Soaring Association and the Navy at China Lake, CA. TheSierra Wave Project explored the effect of the Sierra Nevada on Pacific storms and the many causes of aircraft accidents in mountainous terrain. That information is the basis for comparisons withchanges in regional weatherphenomena since then and has shown during the past several decades, that cloud forms and their behavior indicate major shifts in the global atmosphericcirculation.

   Hal was an enthusiastic mountaineer having been introduced to the mountains on camping trips with his father in the 1930s. Even in this last year of his life, he spent much of his free time rambling around the mountains of eastern California, filling notebooks with observations on the weather, flora and fauna. As well as exploring the Sierra Nevada, his interests in mountaineering and meteorology have taken him to the Ben Nevis in Scotland, the Argentinean Pampas as well as photographing the Aurora Borealis while over Iceland. Yet he frequently said, “The Sierras are still my real love.”

   Hal was awarded the Tuntland Trophy in 1954 for having made an important contribution to the science of soaring flight in a published article or paper during the preceding year for his work on the Sierra Wave Project. (The trophy honors Paul Tuntland, who worked with Dr. Gus Raspet in the Thunder Storm and Ridge Flow Projects. Tuntland lost his life in a sailplane accident in 1950.) Hal also received the SSA Certificate of Appreciation in 1966 for his contributions and services in the field of meteorology. He attended the Twelfth Landmark Dedication which honored the Sierra Wave Project and took place at Bishop Airport in California June 15, 2002. See the National Soaring Museum web site for details (www.soaringmuseum.org). See the SOARING archives on the SSA web page  (www.ssa.org) for further information on Harold Klieforth.                             There is now only one living full timeparticipantin the Sierra Wave Project -- Betsy Woodward (EinarEnevoldson participated during his Christmas break from UCLA).

   Harold Klieforth will be remembered for his generosity and accuracy in providing specific and general forecasts for soaring pilots for many years, a tradition continued by the late Doug Armstrong and, recently, by Walt Rogers. We owe many thanks to these three talented soaring forecasters.

Posted: 7/24/2014

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