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1 February 2017 / leggypeggy

Memories of a life lost too soon

Jules Hoyle Austin in his 20s

Dad in his 20s

Today marks a sad anniversary—50 years ago today my father was killed in a car accident in Omaha Nebraska. He was 45 years old and on his way to pick up my mother at the hairdresser’s.

There was freezing rain and he hit a tree in Elmwood Park. Workmen in the park thought they saw him try to miss hitting a dog. Maybe he had a heart attack. We’ll never know. I no longer remember how we knew the police officer at the scene, but he was stunned to learn that dad had died on the way to the hospital. He had seemed alert and stable at the scene.

If rescue squads (as they were then called in the US) had been as sophisticated and well equipped as they are now, the outcome might have been different. Essentially dad died of shock and a ruptured pancreas or spleen. Unbelievable that I can’t remember which organ it was.

The hairdresser’s place was only a few blocks from the scene of the accident. When my mother heard the sirens, she said, ‘I hope that’s not why he’s late.’

Dad left behind a wife and four daughters, and whole life ahead.

The day had been full of promise.

It was the first day of his last semester of university to earn a degree in engineering. He’d been studying part-time for seven or eight years, and doing that around his full-time job as the civilian pilot for the US Army Corps of Engineers and later as the private pilot for the Central National Insurance Company of Omaha.

It was also the day he would take delivery of a new plane (a Queen Air 88) for the company—a plane he’d chosen after months of research, testing and deliberation.

While I’ve written this post to mark the half century since his death, I also wanted to share, especially with my sisters who are all younger than me, a bit of history about dad and airplanes.

On the evening of Thursday, 18 December 1952, dad crashed a DC-3 at Stapleton Airport in Denver Colorado.

Not surprisingly, it made front-page news in the next day’s The Denver Post. Here’s the article.

Denver Post 19 Dec 1952

The Denver Post’s front page, 19 December 1952

Four in crash of plane here escape safely
Puzzled investigators launched a probe Friday into the crash of a twin-engined transport plane from which four persons escaped just seconds before it caught fire at Stapleton airfield Thursday night.

One of the passengers was Brig. Gen. C.H. Chorpening, assistant chief for civil works in the office of the U.S. corps of engineers in Washington D.C.

Like the other three, he jumped from the plane after it skidded to a jolting stop that ended a 100-mile-an-hour takeoff attempt. None of the four was seriously injured.

The others were civilian employees of the corps of engineers—Pilot J.H. Austin of Omaha, Neb.; Copilot N.H. Hansen, also of Omaha; and George Beard, an engineer from Washington.

Treated for bruises
Chorpening and the two crew members were treated for minor cuts and bruises at Fitzsimons Army hospital and released. Beard did not require medical treatment.

The plane, a DC-3 owned by the corps of engineers, was sent here from Omaha Thursday afternoon to pick up Chorpening, who was on a routine inspection of civil engineer projects.

Chorpening said the craft was only a few feet off the runway when it suddenly went out of control and piled up in a wheat field on airport property. The time was 6:32 p.m.

The plane went up in flames shortly after the four got out.

The pilot could not explain the accident. He said the plane reached a ground speed of about 100 miles an hour when it veered sharply and crashed at the south end of the field.

Inquiry ordered
The investigation was ordered by the civil aeronautics administration. AC Goddard, CAA safety agent, said Friday the cause of the crash was ‘a total mystery.’

‘The pilot doesn’t know, which means that a physical inspection of the wreckage will have to determine what happened,’ he said.

Both engines were torn from the plane and thrown twenty feet in front of the fuselage. The pilot’s compartment was caved in and the entire plane swept by flames.

Six companies of firemen from the Stapleton fire department had the blaze under control in about fifteen minutes.

Less than two hours after the crash. Chorpening and his crew left Denver on a commercial flight to Omaha. The general had come here from the west coast by commercial plane.

DC-3 on fire

The plane was destroyed

The 19 December evening edition of the Omaha World Herald also carried an item, which had additional details.

Plane burns but 4 escape: Army engineer general shaken in crash
Four men, one a high ranking general in Army Engineers, narrowly escaped death Thursday night when a plane from Omaha crashed and burst into flames at the Denver municipal airport.

Brig. Gen. Claude H. Chorpening of Washington, assistant chief of engineers in charge of civil works, escaped with a wrenched left shoulder, bruises and cuts.

George L. Beard of Washington, chief of the planning and development division in the office of the Chief of Army Engineers, came out of the flaming plane almost unscathed. He is a civilian.

On inspection trip
The pilot, Jules Austin, 5118 Leavenworth Street, and the acting co-pilot, Norman Hansen, 1811 North Forty-eighth Avenue, also got out safely. Mr Hansen normally is the plane’s engineer, but as a licensed pilot fills in as co-pilot on occasion.

The plane, a C-47 transport assigned to the Missouri River Division of the Army Engineers here, had gone to Denver to take General Chorpening on an inspection trip of the Army Engineers projects in South Dakota. He had come from the Pacific Northwest, where he had toured projects under construction in that area.

The accident occurred about 7 o’clock just after take-off when the plane was about 10 feet in the air.

Looped on ground
General Chorpening said the plane shuddered violently, then dropped its left wing sharply. The wing tripped on the ground, he said, and the impact flung the plane over to the right side. It looped on the ground and came to rest off the runway.

The outside of the plane started burning, and flames broke out in the compartment that separated the cabin from the pilot’s compartment.

General Chorpening’s seat to which he was bound by his safety belt, was broken from its fastenings and flung the length of the cabin.

General Chorpening and Mr Beard freed themselves and felt their way in the darkness to the rear door, where they jumped to safety.

Continues trip
‘When we hit the ground we started pedaling as fast as we could go,’ he said. ‘The tanks were what we were afraid of. It was a miracle they didn’t explode.’

Mr Austin and Mr Hansen climbed out through escape hatches in the pilot’s compartment.

General Chorpening, who was given emergency treatment at Fitzsimons General Hospital, came to Omaha by commercial airline Friday and left on his inspection trip north by rail. Mr Beard returned to Washington.

Cause of the crash was being studied Friday at Denver.

And a bit more of the story
Norm, the co-pilot on that trip, had more stories about that day and the aftermath.

For starters, he said General Chorpening and Beard actually managed to lower the stairs so managed to walk from the plane rather than jump. I know this is true because in one of the photos, you can see the stairs are down.

Once back to earth, the general asked dad and Norm if they would go back into the then burning plane to retrieve his dress hat which he’d forgotten to grab. They declined.

I can’t find the outcome of the investigation online, but my best recollection from Norm and my mother was that much of the blame was placed on an air traffic controller who had allowed a plane to takeoff across and in front of dad just moments before he took off. The officials surmised that had created a wind squall that hit dad’s plane.

Norm had a different view. He said General Chorpening thought the world of my dad and that Chorpening’s take on the cause of the accident was that ‘the earth swung out of its orbit and hit the plane.’

Jules Hoyle Austin

Not long after, the Army Corps of Engineers bought the shell of another DC-3.

Dad, Norm and Harry Hildeburn, dad’s usual co-pilot, refurbished the interior of that plane to make it an executive aircraft, which seated 21 and had a galley kitchen, sofas, easy chairs, card tables, curtains, pot plants and magazine racks. Oh how, I remember that plane. One day I’ll do a post on it.

Footnote: When the Army Corps of Engineers sold that DC-3 in 1960–61, Harry retired to his home state of Oregon. Norm went on to fly for others, and Dad went to work for Central National. Harry died in 1977, and Norm died in 2011 at age 87. We corresponded for years. What a trio they were. I’ll try to share more stories about them.

Another footnote: Remember I said dad died on the first day of his last semester in university? In a wonderful and heartwarming gesture, the University of Nebraska at Omaha (then called Omaha University) awarded dad’s degree posthumously to my mother.


Leave a Comment
  1. lmo58 / Feb 1 2017 1:04 pm

    Hi Peggy,
    My condolences and sympathies to you, your sisters and your extended family on this very sad anniversary. They’re all significant but 50 is very significant. And it was a very honourable gesture for the university to posthumously award your Dad’s degree to your Mum. Well done too for making sure that your sisters know as much of your family’s history as you can.

    Liked by 7 people

    • leggypeggy / Feb 1 2017 2:22 pm

      I thought the Uni awarding the degree was the nicest thing. A real tribute to him.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Michael Andrew Just / Feb 1 2017 1:21 pm

    Very nice rememberance. You dad was quite a man.

    Liked by 6 people

  3. Sharon Bonin-Pratt / Feb 1 2017 1:23 pm

    Quite a story, Peggy. My condolences on the death of your father. That kind of sadness doesn’t go away but you have wonderful memories of his life.

    Liked by 6 people

  4. stephleo / Feb 1 2017 1:34 pm

    What a lovely tribute to your father. Sounds like you had quite a father. Sorry for your loss.

    Liked by 5 people

  5. zdunno03 / Feb 1 2017 1:36 pm

    A wonderful testament to your father’s too short life.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. Sy S. / Feb 1 2017 1:36 pm


    Sorry to read about your dad’s death at a fairly early age… may he rest in peace.

    Sy S.

    Liked by 4 people

    • leggypeggy / Feb 1 2017 2:31 pm

      Rest in peace? If dad has the chance, you can be sure he’s out raising Cain.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. christie jones / Feb 1 2017 1:46 pm

    A great remembrance for such a wonderful man! May he rest in peace

    Liked by 4 people

    • leggypeggy / Feb 1 2017 2:32 pm

      Thanks. He was pretty rowdy so maybe not resting in peace, but having fun if he can.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. koolkosherkitchen / Feb 1 2017 1:55 pm

    Dear Peggy, I am sorry you lost your father at such a young age. This article is a great tribute to a very special man. May his memory be cherished forever!

    Liked by 4 people

  9. elliebleu / Feb 1 2017 2:45 pm

    What a story! So sorry to hear that you lost your father that way. I always appreciate little glimpses back into that era.

    Liked by 5 people

  10. Phyllis Gaetz / Feb 1 2017 3:03 pm

    I now know why you are so special. You are funny, smart, kind and an adventurer-gifts of your father who forever lives in you. You did not get to have him physically at your side throughout your life but he was there in spirit. You must have had a strong mother as well. God Bless.

    Liked by 6 people

    • leggypeggy / Feb 1 2017 5:48 pm

      Oh thanks, Phyllis. I’ve always felt so lucky that I was at least 18 when he died. My sisters were five and 10 years younger. Mom was amazing, although she always underrated herself.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. The Whitechapel Whelk / Feb 1 2017 3:22 pm

    Great piece. Is there any record of what your dad said to the general when he asked him to go retrieve his hat?:)

    Liked by 4 people

  12. BoomingOn / Feb 1 2017 3:28 pm

    Oh Peggy, what a heart-rending story about your Dad. So tragic, but lovely the uni awarded him his degree. What could have been.

    Liked by 4 people

    • leggypeggy / Feb 1 2017 5:52 pm

      We were so grateful to the university. Dad worked so hard, sometimes missing classes for up to three weeks when he was travelling. His professors were so impressed by his work that I think they may have urged the university to award the degree.

      Liked by 2 people

  13. gerard oosterman / Feb 1 2017 5:00 pm

    A good story. I am sure he was the best dad. I am not impressed by the general and his hat. Perhaps he was joking.

    Liked by 3 people

    • leggypeggy / Feb 1 2017 5:52 pm

      I guess we’ll never know, but a dress hat may have been hard to come by! 🙂


  14. Rashminotes / Feb 1 2017 5:23 pm

    Such a touching post; your dad seemed such an achiever and what a shame that such a glorious life was cut short so tragically Peggy. I am sure your sisters and you miss him even after so many years.

    Liked by 4 people

    • leggypeggy / Feb 1 2017 5:53 pm

      Dad really was a go-getter and very proud to have four daughters. He always said we could do anything we wanted to do if we were prepared to put in the effort.

      Liked by 3 people

  15. Green Global Trek / Feb 1 2017 5:46 pm

    Such an amazing story and heartfelt tribute. Your father was so handsome and so interesting! Thank you for sharing this personal history. So sorry for your tragic loss ~ a life cut short. May his memory live on…

    Liked by 4 people

    • leggypeggy / Feb 1 2017 6:29 pm

      Thanks. Dad was a hero for many in our extended family, so his memory will definitely live on.


  16. wfdec / Feb 1 2017 6:23 pm

    I like the idea of the earth going out of orbit and hitting the plane. And the Degree thing. A bit throat lumping.

    Liked by 3 people

    • leggypeggy / Feb 1 2017 6:32 pm

      I’ve always liked the orbit description—it seems so logical. And yes, the degree thing was so far beyond special.


  17. Lin / Feb 1 2017 6:58 pm

    Wow Peggy. What a story, and what a Dad to be proud of. Now I know where you get your adventurous can do attitude from.

    Liked by 3 people

  18. Robert Henderson / Feb 1 2017 6:59 pm

    Clearly you come from quality stock, Peggy.

    Liked by 3 people

  19. IreneDesign2011 / Feb 1 2017 7:02 pm

    Beautiful tribute to your Dad, Peggy. Easy to see, that his energy continued inside you.

    Liked by 3 people

  20. GP Cox / Feb 1 2017 11:22 pm

    This is a wonderful tribute to not only your father and hero, but an honorable man lost to this world all too soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Feb 2 2017 11:40 am

      Thanks so much. I’ve wanted to post something about him for a long time and this anniversary seemed perfect.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. lexklein / Feb 2 2017 12:03 am

    What a beautiful story and tribute – I blinked back a tear or two at the end! (Strangely, it brought back memories of my pilot uncle who lived in both Omaha and Denver and who died himself in a helicopter accident while doing a news story.) Your father sounds like a very special guy, and I enjoyed reading about him on this sad anniversary.

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Feb 2 2017 11:44 am

      Interesting that you mentioned your uncle dying in a helicopter accident. When dad died, one of the things mom kept saying was ‘at least his plane never let him down’. In the 12 months before dad died, six Nebraska pilots were killed in plane crashes. All gone too soon.

      Liked by 2 people

  22. derrickjknight / Feb 2 2017 1:23 am

    Tragic, Peggy; but an excellent tribute. I don’t find it unbelievable that you can’t remember which organ. A little more than 52 years ago my first wife died suddenly. The next morning I was visited by an official keen to tell me that she had not suffered. It was either her heart or her lungs that had given out in an epileptic fit. To this day, I cannot remember which

    Liked by 3 people

  23. spearfruit / Feb 2 2017 1:44 am

    Heartwarming tribute – Peggy, as you may know, I am a softly and stories like this bring tears of sadness and also tears of joy. I can tell you hold a special place for your dad in your heart – what a great man. Thank you for sharing this today. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Feb 2 2017 11:46 am

      I so wish that my husband and children, as well as the families of my sisters, had had the chance to know him.

      Liked by 2 people

  24. So sorry for your loss! Sounds like he was a remarkable man, husband, and father. 45 is way too young to have to leave this world and family behind. Such a beautiful but sad story. ((hugs))

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Snapshotsincursive / Feb 2 2017 5:19 am

    I am touched by your heartwarming story. It is proof you carry your father in your heart always. God is with you. Blessings. 🌟✨💫

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Feb 2 2017 11:48 am

      I was blessed as a child to be able to travel with him often. Nobody knew I was sitting in the galley and it let my mother spend time with my younger sisters.

      Liked by 1 person

  26. MeRaw / Feb 2 2017 5:49 am

    So very sorry, but what a beautiful remembrance.

    Liked by 2 people

  27. ralietravels / Feb 2 2017 10:17 am

    A lovely and loving commemoration.

    Liked by 2 people

  28. Vicki / Feb 2 2017 10:46 am

    A sad story to recount. I cannot imagine how bereft your family must have been to lose their Father/Husband so tragically. It is also a testament to your Mother to bring up 4 girls on her own. I daresay not easy, when in those times, the Father was the breadwinner in most families.

    I can now imagine where you got your spirit of adventure and travel from.

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Feb 2 2017 11:55 am

      I am so proud of how my mother managed. The owner of the insurance company opened a bank about the time dad died and he insisted that mom come to work there. She hadn’t ever worked out of the home, and voiced all sorts of excuses, but Mickey found answers to all of them. At first she worked from 9–1 so she’d be home when my younger sisters went to and returned from school. Eight years later she was an assistant vice president of the bank. And that has reminded me to tell the story of the time the bank was robbed, and mom had a gun put to her head.

      Liked by 2 people

  29. Lynz Real Cooking / Feb 2 2017 11:09 am

    A wonderful tribute Peggy!

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Phyllis Gaetz / Feb 2 2017 12:53 pm

    🙂 hope to meet up with again some day!

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Feb 2 2017 4:05 pm

      I hope so too, Phyllis, let’s start planning!


  31. jerseydreaming / Feb 2 2017 1:17 pm

    That’s a great (if very sad) story. Thank you for sharing it with us.

    Liked by 2 people

  32. voulaah / Feb 2 2017 9:33 pm

    Dear Peggy,
    you have my condolecences for this sad story
    Have a very nice day

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Feb 2 2017 10:37 pm

      Thanks voulaah, your visits are always very much appreciated. Kisses back.

      Liked by 1 person

  33. poshbirdy / Feb 2 2017 11:57 pm

    What a fascinating but tragic piece of your family story and history. Your dad sounds like a very brave and talented man. So sorry you lost him so early

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Feb 3 2017 6:55 am

      He was very special, but then I think most of us see our dads as heroes.


  34. Scott Levine / Feb 3 2017 3:40 am

    Such a great tribute. My condolences to you and your family.

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Feb 3 2017 6:54 am

      Thanks so much. Appreciate you stopping by and commenting.


  35. sportsattitudes / Feb 3 2017 5:36 am

    Peggy, condolences on this difficult, tragic anniversary. Your tribute here is filled with warmth and love. It was wonderful the university awarded that degree…fitting footnote indeed.

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Feb 3 2017 9:42 am

      Thanks so much. I couldn’t leave everyone hanging. In my mid-20s, I worked two years for that university and could let them know how much the awarding of the degree meant to our family.

      Liked by 2 people

  36. theorangutanlibrarian / Feb 3 2017 8:12 am

    Sorry to read this, but this was a lovely tribute to pay your father.

    Liked by 2 people

  37. Brenda / Feb 3 2017 8:40 am

    Well, you were fortunate to have such a man as a father, even if he died way too soon. It sounds as if you shared a sense of adventure, zest for life, and sense of humor. This was not only a lovely remembrance, but it was fascinating reading. Thanks Peggy.

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Feb 3 2017 9:46 am

      Thanks Brenda. Dad was a gentleman, the neighbourhood clown and a favourite with all the women on our street. They liked his sense of humour and especially the fact that he could fix anything.

      Liked by 1 person

  38. neveradullbling / Feb 3 2017 9:59 am

    A wonderful story, a great legacy!

    Liked by 2 people

  39. Curious to the Max / Feb 3 2017 11:59 am

    A wonderful post and tribute to your dad. Sharing the story with your sisters is particularly special to help them fill in details of the man who helped give them life.

    I found it mind-boggling that your father survived such a horrific plane crash and then died so unexpectedly on what many would think of as mundane trip to get your mother. Our lives and deaths are all governed by forces unknown. As a Baha’i, I absolutely believe that we pass on to another realm after our bodies no longer serve us with our consciousness and personalities intact. So I do believe he’s still rowdy, a gentleman and a proud father.

    (Just curious and you needn’t answer if it’s not an appropriate question: How did losing your father while you were still a teen inform and shape you as an adult?)

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Feb 3 2017 1:13 pm

      You nailed it, Judith. It was such a mundane trip, but freezing rain creates one of the most dangerous driving conditions. Mom hated to drive in bad weather and that’s why dad took her that day. Forces unknown? Like you, I’m sure dad is entertaining the crowds somewhere.

      As for how his death shaped me as an adult—that’s a tough question and something I will think about for days to come. I was 18 when he died, so verging on being an adult. Most of the characteristics that define me today were already there. That said, his death changed my study plans. Instead of taking up a scholarship to a private university, I stayed to study in Nebraska. Who knows what changes that move might have brought. I’m content with the way my life has gone.


  40. fitnessgrad / Feb 3 2017 12:13 pm

    Oh my,
    Sorry for your loss Peggy. I enjoyed the reading, getting to know someone who was your loved one. Thank you for allowing your readers to get to know this man as well.


    Liked by 2 people

  41. Dorothy / Feb 3 2017 1:29 pm

    What a sad end for your Dad. A handsome fellow and brave to be flying some of these early planes. Too young, he missed his girls growing up. They say the pain in your heart when you think of him is just a measure of how much you loved him. Dorothy


    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Feb 3 2017 7:05 pm

      Thanks so much Dorothy. Our love for dad was and still is great.


  42. inesephoto / Feb 4 2017 7:42 am

    Such a wonderful tribute. Sorry you lost your Dad early.

    Liked by 2 people

  43. heidi ruckriegel / Feb 4 2017 7:53 am

    So sad to lose your Dad as a teenager. He certainly packed a lot into his life, though. Doesn’t sound like he wasted a minute.

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Feb 4 2017 7:57 am

      Very insightful. He didn’t waste a minute. 🙂


  44. Tamara Hoerner / Feb 4 2017 10:42 am

    I am sorry about the loss of your father and this sad anniversary This was a beautiful remembrance of him. Thank you for sharing such touching memories.

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Feb 4 2017 2:27 pm

      I’ll always be grateful for the years we did have together.


  45. Sheryl / Feb 4 2017 1:10 pm

    What a lovely tribute to your father! He sounds like a really special person.

    Liked by 2 people

  46. mistermuse / Feb 4 2017 1:17 pm

    Such a bittersweet story — I can but join in all the condolences of others and thank you for sharing it.

    Liked by 2 people

  47. Xea B. / Feb 6 2017 5:10 am

    Ah, my friends from the prison, they ask unto me
    “How good, how good does it feel to be free?”
    And I answer them most mysteriously
    “Are birds free from the chains of the skyway?”
    Bob Dylan

    With our heartfelt thought, Peggy
    Xea & Addé

    Liked by 2 people

  48. milliethom / Feb 6 2017 8:46 am

    A very moving post, Peggy, and a wonderful tribute to your dad. I can imagine how that tragic car crash affected your family. He sounds like a remarkable man and a great pilot. Studying for a degree while still working full time says a lot about his determination and drive. Thank you for sharing the details of the horrendous plane crash, too. How amazing that no lives were lost.
    Fifty years is such a long time ago, but memories of your dad will stay with you a lot longer.

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Feb 6 2017 1:04 pm

      I think of him and mum every day. Both very special people.


  49. Maniparna Sengupta Majumder / Feb 6 2017 9:51 am

    When I started reading, I really felt sad and thought that I couldn’t actually hit a ‘like’ for the post. But, when I finished, I thought, what a wonderful man your dad was, I liked his ways of life and how he did so many things in just 45 years to make you and your family proud of him.
    This is a lovely tribute, Peggy.

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Feb 6 2017 1:21 pm

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting. He sure did pack a lot into his 45 years.

      Liked by 1 person

  50. Sascha Darlington / Feb 6 2017 11:06 am

    Beautiful, heartfelt tribute. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Feb 6 2017 1:22 pm

      Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting.


  51. jeanleesworld / Feb 6 2017 2:25 pm

    My heart aches with you–tomorrow will mark three years since my father died of heart failure. I love the warmth of your words; they bring light to the old embers of my own loss. xxxxx

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Feb 6 2017 4:41 pm

      Jean, I thought of you as I wrote this and I be thinking of you tomorrow. I remember how eloquently you have written about your father and about losing him too soon. Sending hugs to you for tomorrow and for every day ahead. xxxxx

      Liked by 1 person

  52. eths / Feb 9 2017 4:56 pm

    Your father was a remarkable person!

    Liked by 2 people

  53. Holistic Wayfarer / Feb 10 2017 9:03 am

    Chills. The pathos…how close to home he died. I can’t begin to imagine the life your mother struggled under on the heels. What a wonderful gesture on the part of the University. Amazing post.

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Feb 10 2017 10:44 pm

      Thanks so much for stopping by. My mother managed so very well and, yes, the university was amazing.


  54. martin houghton / Feb 12 2017 3:21 am

    Beautiful, sad, evocative words. Thank you for posting. Your father sounded very special indeed.

    Liked by 2 people

  55. Bun Karyudo / Feb 12 2017 5:33 pm

    It was very sad to hear about your Dad’s terrible accident fifty years ago, Peggy. As several people have already mentioned, it was nice of the university to award the degree posthumously to your mother like that.

    The story you went on to tell about the earlier plane crash was very interesting and full of great details. The bit about the general wondering if either your Dad or Norm, the co-pilot would like to go back to the burning wreckage to retrieve his dress hat made my smile, as did the the general’s reported comment a little later about the Earth swinging out of its orbit! I can almost imagine him saying it too, hatless and with a twinkle in his eye.

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Feb 12 2017 11:37 pm

      Thanks Bun. Norm loved telling the stories about the crash in Denver and the general’s remarks, especially the bit about the earth swinging out of its orbit.

      Liked by 1 person

  56. Claremary P. Sweeney / Feb 13 2017 8:17 am

    This is a marvelous tribute to your Dad. I can never reconcile why people, who are so valuable to us on this planet, die so young. But he lived on in my mind this afternoon, thanks to your story.

    Liked by 2 people

  57. Mithai Mumblezz / Feb 16 2017 5:14 am

    You dad was wonderful. It brought down tears to read your beautiful tribute and I’m sure he’s still looking over his lil girls from heaven. He has left his legacy on the world through his work and the love among friends and family and it will stay alive forever. Much love and hugs.

    Liked by 2 people

  58. Miriam / Feb 16 2017 11:56 am

    Hi Peggy, what a wonderfully written account but such a tragic loss, at such a young age. A touching remembrance.

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Feb 16 2017 4:47 pm

      Thank you so very much.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Miriam / Feb 16 2017 5:00 pm

        You’re most welcome. Do you mind if I ask where you’re from?

        Liked by 1 person

      • leggypeggy / Feb 16 2017 10:53 pm

        Don’t mind at all. I consider myself a child of the world. Born in New Jersey, grew up in Nebraska, did my masters degree in Egypt, lived in four Middle Eastern countries (and one in southeast Asia) and call Australia home. And have spent up to a month in more than 100 other countries.


  59. voulaah / Feb 17 2017 11:00 pm

    Have a very nice end of week dear Peggy, waiting for your new one
    Kisses back

    Liked by 1 person

  60. Steph McCoy / Feb 19 2017 7:58 am

    Lovely homage to your dad Peggy. My sympathies to you and your family.

    Liked by 1 person

  61. In My Cluttered Attic / Mar 18 2017 6:45 am

    A wonderful gesture by the university. It’s obvious your dad occupies a very warm spot in your heart, but it is even better that your memories of him continue to stoke that fire. A lovely tribute, Peggy.

    Liked by 1 person

  62. tony / Mar 18 2017 3:50 pm

    Nice story about your dad and obviously wonderful memories. Maybe it is age but I don’t have any problems about nostalgia for the past on an individual basis. (With politicians of course it is very dangerous.)


    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Mar 18 2017 10:59 pm

      Thanks Tony, I enjoy flashes of nostalgia for time to time.


  63. Tanveer Rauf / Mar 20 2017 5:23 pm

    Thank you for sharing your precious memories . May all gone be at peace in heaven and the alive ones be blessed, amen

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Mar 20 2017 5:39 pm

      What a lovely comment. Thank you so very much.


  64. annabelletroy / Mar 27 2017 7:44 am

    Your dad in his aviator outfit is really handsome, like a movie star!

    Liked by 1 person

  65. Joan / Feb 5 2018 12:15 pm

    Jane, what a nice tribute to your dad. What a wonderful and accomplished man.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Feb 5 2018 5:13 pm

      Thanks so much for reading and for commenting.


  66. afterthelasttime / Mar 5 2019 12:24 pm

    Such a nice tribute to your Dad, Peggy. Bravo to you and your Dad! Somehow this is a posting I had missed, I apologize. Your Dad no doubt used flight maps made by Jeppesen Aviation here in Denver (now Boeing) and wonder if he ever had occasion to visit Jeppesen Aviation (their maps are used worldwide).
    As a side, there have been other accidents and near accidents involving wind sheer here at Stapleton most notably a Continental Airlines Boeing 737 size passenger plane which was destroyed by the crash and ensuing fire November 1987. I can’t remember if anyone died however wind sheer was at least a primary culprit and may very well been caused by another recent takeoff. I strongly suspect your Dad’s piloting skills saved himself and his passengers as wind sheer is a horrifying occurrence difficult if not close to impossible to identify or predict. I’ll never forget a takeoff from our new airport in a DC 10 that wildly bounced around in the air with drops of what seemed like 1,000 feet and leaps up just as high, it was an incredible lesson for minding the “fasten seatbelt” signs!
    One of the reasons Denver built its new airport was the closeness of Stapleton’s parallel runways and the fact the north/south runways were largely in the Rocky Mountain Arsenal where there are pits of waste the federal government refused to guarantee could ever be extinguished if they caught fire due to a crash were just two reasons among many.
    Your sisters no doubt cherish your memories of your Dad just as you, this is really great!

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Mar 15 2019 9:57 am

      Dave, what a beautiful and informative comment. I so appreciate you adding the detail about wind sheer at Stapleton. I didn’t know it was a known problem. Thanks so very much.


  67. Doug Thomas / Nov 16 2020 10:41 pm

    It sounds like wind shear, a phenomenon they wasn’t known of or understood of at the time caused the accident in Denver.



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