About Roy William Reabe
Roy Reabe was fifteen years old when he made his first flight in the front cockpit of a barnstormer's aircraft near the family farm outside of Hartford, Wisconsin. A few years later, he moved to Waukesha for flight instruction and, by the time the Unites States entered World War II, Reabe had his private, commercial and instructor certificates.
During the war, he first served as a primary military instructor. Later Roy entered the Transport Command where he flew from one end of the continent to the other delivering B-25 and B-26 bombers as well as P-38, P-39, P-40, P-47, P-51 and P-63 fighters. Reabe spent the final months of the war piloting C-46s and C-47s over the "Hump" from India.
In 1946, Reabe returned home and found land near Waupun for an airport. He started a flying service and flight school for both airplanes and gliders. A year later, be began his agricultural flying service. As the vegetable industry expanded across the state, so too did his business.
By the 1980s, the Waupun airport had become the state's most active private airport. Reabe also had the largest general aviation fleet of aircraft including airplanes, helicopters and gliders in Wisconsin.
He and his wife (and business partner) Helen raised a family of aviators. At last count the Reabe family included ten children and grandchildren pilots. As a flight instructor for more than fifty years Roy is remembered by his students as, "A stickler for perfection, a stickler for pilots."
The following is from Werner Harmsen Funeral Home:
Roy was born February 28, 1921 in Otter Tail County, MN the son of Frank W. and Lottie J. Severson Reabe. As a young child Roy and his family moved to the Iron Ridge/Mayville area. Roy married Helen Hilbert on June 10, 1947 in Mayville, WI. Roy’s lifelong interest was aviation, beginning at age 6 when he went for his first plane ride in an open cockpit barnstormer. He began to realize his dream by learning to fly in Waukesha, WI. Roy served his country during WWII as a flight instructor, fighter aircraft delivery pilot, and flying troops and supplies over the Himalayan Mountains between India and China. He returned in January 1946 and opened the Waupun Airport. Roy provided flight instruction, charter, fire patrol and crop spraying services while Helen took care of the office. In 1966 Roy and Helen expanded the business into Plainfield and Plover, WI. Roy’s four sons and one grandson continue his aviation legacy today operating Reabe Spraying Service in Waupun, Plainfield and Plover, WI. Roy was inducted into the Wisconsin Aviation Hall of Fame and received both the Federal Aviation Administration Master Pilot and Master Mechanic Awards. Roy accumulated over 30,000 hours of flight time and taught over 1000 people to fly including his four sons and five of his grandchildren. He often said, “I was very fortunate to earn a living doing what I love.” If one word could describe what was most important to Roy, it would be “family”. His greatest joy in life was spending time with Helen, their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He and Helen went to great lengths to instill family values, integrity and an intense work ethic into all of their lives. Roy is survived by his wife of 68 years, Helen; a daughter, Bonita Rosenthal (David Vandre) of Almond, WI; four sons: Thomas (Jill) Reabe of Waupun and their sons, Damon & Nathan; J.R. (Teresa) Reabe of Plover and their children, Matthew, Brent, Christa, Sarah, and Becky; Jeffrey (Marcie) Reabe of Plainfield and their children, Gretchen, Troy, Heath, and Tyler; and Robert Reabe of Waupun; 17 great-grandchildren; and numerous relatives and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents; two brothers: Gordon Reabe and Lawrence Severson; four sisters: Helen Scharnell, Fern Justman, Jeannette Steger and Opal Pankow; brothers-in-law: Frank Scharnell and Norbert Justman; sister-in-law, Eleanor Severson; grandson, Joshua Reabe; and daughter-in-law, Diana Reabe. Visitation: Friends and relatives may call on the family on Friday at the Werner-Harmsen Funeral Home in Waupun from 4-7 p.m. and on Saturday at the church from 9 a.m. to the time of the service.
Services: Funeral services for Roy Reabe will be held Saturday, May 30, 2015 at 10 a.m. at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Waupun with Rev. Lee Zortman officiating.
Burial: Burial will follow at Forest Mound Cemetery in Waupun where military rites will be provided by American Legion Post 210.
Special Thanks: The family thanks the in-home caregivers for their dedication and the loving care they provided. Memorials may be directed to Agnesian Hospice Hope in Fond du Lac, WI.