Ernest Roland Artz, 95, of Long Run Drive, Schuylkill Haven, passed away Monday, June 19th, at Geisinger St. Luke’s Orwigsburg, with his daughter by his side.
Ernest was born in Hegins on May 17, 1928, a son of the late Hannah (Kimmel) and Lawrence Artz.
He graduated from Pottsville High School in 1946. Following high school graduation, he was employed as a truck driver.
From 1950-1953 he served in the Air Force where he fought in the Korean War. In the war, he was a Gunner in the 17th Bomb Wing out of P’ohang, Korea and he was in control of all the weaponry in a Douglas B-26 Invader. After his time in the Air Force, he continued to be a life- long pilot.
Following an honorable discharge from the Air Force, Ernest drove for Interstate Transportation/System for 27 years and was recognized for driving over a million miles with no accidents.
Upon the closing of Interstate Transportation, Ernest was able to pursue his lifelong passion for aviation and earned his airplane mechanic and inspector’s license. He then opened his own airplane inspection and repair business, A to Z Air Service, located at Farmers Pride Airport in Fredericksburg, PA. Ernest frequently shared his love of flying, and would gladly take people for rides in his plane. He was proud of the fact that he helped several young people learn to fly , and that they later went on to become pilots in the Air Force or airline pilots.
In 2004 at the age of 80, Ernest received the Federal Aviation Administration’s Wright Brothers Master Pilot award for his technical expertise and practicing safe flight operations continuously for 50 or more years during his aviation career. He was well respected in the aviation community for his mechanical skills, and aviation knowledge. Ernest was also a member of the Quiet Birdmen.
Ernest celebrated his 90th birthday by soloing his plane and continued to fly for several more years.
Ernest is survived by a daughter Connie Koch, wife of Terry; granddaughter Laura Rice, wife of Ken; grandson Warren Koch, husband of Ricki, two great-granddaughters Reagan Rice and Hannah Koch as well as his sister Linda Robinson, nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his daughter Jacque Artz in 1971 and his brother Mahlon Artz in 2007.
The family would like to thank the staff at Luther Ridge and acknowledge the excellent care he received at Green Valley Skilled Nursing Facility.The family would also like to thank the Farmers Pride Airport pilots and their families for their life-long friendships with Ernest.
In leu of flowers, Ernest would have wanted donations be made to The Wounded Warrior Project or to St. Judes’s Children’s hospital.
Hamilton-Breiner Funeral Home & Cremation Services, Inc. Orwigsburg, has been entrusted with the arrangements.