Airway Pioneer Member
Don F. Gabel

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Born 20 July 1932 during the famed great depression. Grew up on a Farm near Harper, Iowa

Don & his wife Virginia were married in 2004 and have resided in Hiawatha since then at 340 N. 1 ~. Ave. Don has three children and eight grandchildren living in Iowa and Boise Idaho, and two great grand sons. Don and his deceased wife Donna were married for 50 years when she passed away. Virginia has three sons and five grandchildren living in Iowa and Tenn.

A licensed pilot since 1958, he served in the USAF for four years from 1952 through 1955. He was stationed in Texas, in Miss. and at Hickam AFB in Honolulu from 1952-55 working with MATS (Military Air Transport Service) as a Base Operations Specialist and also flew as a radio operator with MATS throughout the Pacific and Far East during the Korean war.

32 years with F AA in its Air Traffic Service. Including 19 years as a Facility Chief/Air Traffic Manager at three locations, the last at Cedar Rapids where he retired in 1989. Appointed and served as an Accident Prevention Counselor for 10 years. Arranged and was directly involved in over 250 Pilot Safety Meetings over a 35 year period. Developed Area Aviation Associations in four different communities. In 1988 he was a charter member of the initial group who founded Associated Pilots of Iowa affiliated with the United States Pilots Assoc. Still active after 19 years

Part-time employee 14 years at Teahen Funeral Home in Cedar Rapids from 1989 to 2003. Introduced to LifeLine Pilots a number of years ago by then Board Member Peter T eahen. In 1988 and 1989, served as a Mission Coordinator for LifeLine Pilots (arranging mercy flights with volunteer pilots) within and outside of all mid western states.

Past Civic activities and affiliations include:
Ottumwa IA. Chamber of Commerce Aviation Committee four years 1961-64.
10 years with the Jaycees, 1959-69. All offices including President 1963 & 1964.
Founder & Charter President, Ottumwa Evening Lions Club 1965-66
Ottumwa Area (television) Translator System. Founder & President eight years.
1963-70. Chairman, Board of Trustees 12 years 1970-1982.
Kirkwood Community College Aviation Advisory Committee (two years)
Chairman, two National Meetings - United –States Pilots Association

Numerous awards for Leadership & Distinguished Service by the Jaycees, Lions, FAA, and Aviation Groups. Named an Outstanding Young Man of Iowa in 1964, and an Outstanding Young Man Of America in 1965. Hobbies and interests: Traveling in their Motor Home, working on the Computer, Amateur (Ham) Radio, Woodworking, and an occasional golfer.

Current activities:
1st VP - 300 member area chapter, Natn'l Association Retired Federal Employees
VP Associated Pilots of Iowa and Secretary of the local area chapter
Historian, Hiawatha American Legion Post 735
Chairperson, Hiawatha Iowa Historical Commission

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