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Remembering Ron

The late Ron Alexander, renowned aviator and founder of Williamson’s Peach State Airport and Candler Field Museum, will be remembered by visitors from all over the U.S. during a Celebration of Life ceremony set for this Saturday, March 25. Lunch will be served at the airport’s Barnstormer’s Grill starting at 11 a.m. and the special ceremony will begin at 1 p.m. and will include several aircraft fly overs, special speakers, a rifle volley, taps and flag folding and special music by The Freedom Belles and Oak Hill Baptist Church. Speakers at the event will include Bill Taylor, Jack McCormick, Cayla McLeod, Dave Moffett and Steve Fulton. Peach State Airfield will be closed from 12:55 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. during the formal ceremony.   Alexander was known to many as the ‘˜quiet giant’ of aviation and he was inducted into the Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame in 2013. That same year, he also founded Candler Field’s Youth Aviation Program where youth learn to work on airplanes and earn flight training hours for their efforts. Several members of the group have already earned their private pilot’s licenses. He had logged more than 24,000 hours of flying time before engine trouble on his historic 1917 Curtiss Jenny biplane caused a fatal wreck Nov. 17 that claimed his life and the life of FAA inspector Larry Enlow. The WWI aircraft was one of only six in the world at the time and one of the best restored and maintained. After taking his first airplane ride at age 14 as a member of the Civil Air Patrol – one of the aviation groups that meets at Candler Field Museum – he earned his private pilot’s license at age 17. Alexander served in the U.S. Air Force and flew planes all over the world. He flew for a year in Vietnam where he earned the Distinguished Flying Cross and two Air Medals. He later worked for Delta Airlines and retired in 2002 after 34 years. He founded Alexander Aeroplane Company in 1979 and restored many antique aircraft over the years. In 2004, he founded Candler Field Museum and in 2008, the first building was completed. His vision was to recreate Candler Field (now Atlanta Hartsfield International Airport) as it was during the early days of aviation in the 1930s. The American Airways hangar was finished in 2008, the Doug Davis hangar, honoring a local early aviation icon, was finished in 2016 and work is now underway on the Beeler Blevins hangar. He regularly flew to airfields around the country in a restored Douglas DC-3 and gave rides to passengers young and old so they could experience the joy of aviation.

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