Edward Eugene Beatty, 84, of Ruskin, Florida, was called home to be with his Lord on Sunday, October 7, 2012. Ed was born in Huntington, IN, July 5, 1928. He always referred to himself as “a delayed firecracker.” Ed was raised in Huntington as an only child. He was an accomplished pianist as a young man playing concerts locally and in Chicago. His love for music was overshadowed by his life-long passion for aviation.
Ed earned his solo pilot’s license at the age of 15. He would ride his bicycle to a landing strip on the outskirts of his hometown to learn to fly and hang out with pilots, mechanics, and airplanes. One of his earliest jobs was working for a flight service at (Art) Smith Field in Fort Wayne. At the end of WWII, he was one of the young pilots who loaded Margaret Ringenberg’s plane with flyers that she dropped over Fort Wayne announcing the end of the war.
Ed enlisted in the Navy and served as a mechanic on an aircraft carrier. He was always disappointed that his birthday made him too young to become a military aviator. By the time he became eligible for pilot training, the military had enough pilots. Ed followed his passion for airplanes and joined the Indiana Air National Guard where he spent 38 years of his life. He worked as a mechanic on the flight line and supervised Maintenance Supply. He was instrumental in setting up Maintenance Supply when the 122nd Tactical Fighter Wing was called to active duty during the Cuban Missile Crisis and sent to Chambley-Bussières Air Base in 1960. In 1969, Ed trained at Keesler Air Force Base, Biloxi, MS, and became an Air Traffic Controller. He returned to Fort Wayne and spent the next 20 years working as an air traffic controller, assigned to the 235th Air National Guard Unit at Baer Field. Ed retired from military service with 38 years having the rank of Senior Master Sergeant.
Ed was a charter member of the Back Forty Flying Club. As an avid aviator he was also a member of the Experimental Aircraft Association, where he volunteered for over 30 years at AirVenture. One of the joys of his life was to be inducted into the Quiet Birdmen in 1981. He treasured his friendships with fellow aviators and enthusiasts. He accomplished a life-long goal of being eligible to join the United Flying Octogenarians (UFO’s). He last flew solo at the age of 82. He always said, “I have been flying my entire life and I have never hurt any person or airplane and I don’t intend to start now.” He continued to fly as a co-pilot when the opportunity presented itself.
Ed married his first wife, Alice, in 1950. They are the parents of Karen Allen (Steve), Scott (Sherry), Ross, LuAnn Kurtz (Steve), Kyle, and Brooks (Renee). He married his second wife, Jean, to whom he was married for 30 years. His stepchildren are Colleen Brown, Thomas Holle (Sally), Jana Bearman (Troy), and Ned Holle. He was preceded in death by his wife Jean and his sons Ross and Scott. He has 7 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren. He is also survived by his special friend, Collean O’Connor and his precious dog, ChiChi.
Ed has “Gone West” and is forever flying in “The Wild Blue Yonder.”
There will be two “Celebrations of Life”. The first will be on Saturday, Oct. 20 at 2:00 in Ruskin, Florida, at Chula Vista Mobile Home Park, 1702 Gulf City Road. The second will be held in Fort Wayne at a later date in November when he is returned home to his family. The family requests that those who remember Ed to please come with a story the share with our guests. In lieu of flowers, donations in Ed’s honor may be made to the following: EAA donations to the program of the donor’s choice at http://www.eaa.org/support/giving.asp and St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital http://www.stjude.org/waystohelp