Our featured speaker at the November dinner meeting was Ron Alexander, founder of the Candler Field Museum. All in attendance were treated to an enthusiastic presentation about the early history of the Atlanta airport and the history of early aviation. It is therefore very sad indeed to tell you that Mr. Alexander lost his life in a plan crash just two nights after we met him. He was flying his 1917 Curtiss “Jenny” JN-4. It was clear from his presentation that Mr. Alexander had an infectious passion for vintage aircraft. He spoke about not just getting young people excited about flying, but having actual programs to teach them how to fly through the Candler Field Flying Club. He was interested not just in learning flight from a simulator, but feeling it in the air, feeling the airplane as an extension of your own body. He glowed with pride when showing slides of his restored DC-3. He marveled at the audacity of early aviation pioneers from those who flew to those who designed to those who built. In an age when people do things virtually, Mr. Alexander championed the cause of doing, of using your own hands to build something amazing yourself. We are grateful for the many people today who have rewarding careers or hobbies in aviation because Mr. Alexander nurtured them with his time and wisdom.
If you would like to read more about his exception life, obituaries are posted on the Atlanta Journal-Constitution obituary website here, the Experimental Aircraft Association website here (Mr. Alexander was a member of the EAA Vintage Aircraft Association board of directors), and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association website here.
According to the obituary, a “celebration of life will be held at a later date at Candler Field in Williamson, GA. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you please consider making a contribution to the Candler Field Museum, 349 Jonathan Roost Rd, Williamson, GA 30292.” We encourage all our local members to find time to visit the museum and appreciate this resource that is Mr. Alexander’s legacy.