his Life

Our dad passed away quickly and peacefully on September 19th. He was 102. Dad was a true aviation pioneer, involved in aviation from the early days of commercial passenger air travel all the way into the jet age. At age 17 he talked his way into a job with Northwest Airways (later Northwest Airlines) as a flight steward, which turned out to be just the beginning of a storied 42-year career.

Hard work in that role included an early discovery for the need to have paper sacks on hand (his own first version of the "barf bag") and to develop an acute sense for when a passenger might need one, then (once used) for making a run for the doorway and pitching the results out into the open air. Seeing how much easier a pilot's job was by comparison and how much more money they made, he quickly worked at getting himself hired as a pilot by convincing the airline to loan him an airplane and getting one of the captains to teach him to fly.

Over the course of his airline career, he was involved in opening up two important air routes, one from Minneapolis to Seattle across the northern Rockies (with Amelia Earhart as passenger, publicizing both her recent book and their history-making flight), and also across previously uncharted territory from Edmonton, Canada to Anchorage and Fairbanks, Alaska.

Fascination with the P-12E motivated him to join the Army Air Corps Reserves, which later led to him being called into wartime active duty as one of the few dozen pilots forming the Special Missions Group (Brass Hat Squadron) during WWII. As an Army Air Force major, he flew various dignitaries around the world, including Senator Albert Hawkes, Mexican Air Force General Salinas, and (then) General Dwight Eisenhower.

Retiring at the mandatory age of 60, he brought his lifelong pursuit of learning and personal improvement into the next 42 years. He continued with his love of music, as well as new activities that included downhill skiing and golf, both of which he did into his mid-nineties. He also took up television repair in his post-retirement years and became an early enthusiast of personal computers. He began delivering Meals on Wheels later in life, an activity he finally set aside in his late nineties. Throughout, he remained an inspiration and role model to all who knew him or heard of his accomplishments.      

He is pre-deceased by the love of his life, Helen Belle Boice Kimm. He is survived by his children Barbara Kimm (Mike Mulroy), Kip Nordstrom (Carl), Kerry Cotton (Mike), and Joe Kimm. Also his grandchildren, Chris, Kimm, Teresa, Kjerstin, Lisa, Aaron, Shane, Kelley, and Dakota and several great grandchildren.

There will be no memorial service but the family would love it if any donations could be made to Senior Services in his name because of his devotion to the Meals On Wheels program.