December 7, 2012
By Jim Moore
AOPA and the general aviation community lost a stalwart supporter with the Dec. 4 death of J. Lloyd Huck in State College, Pa.
Huck, 90, began his flying career during World War II, and remained an active pilot until just before turning 90 in July. Huck made significant contributions to AOPA. He was an AOPA Foundation Board of Visitors Emeritus, having donated his expertise and energy to the foundation’s effort to improve safety, preserve community airports, build the pilot population, and enhance public perception of GA. Huck also donated the Cirrus SR22 given away in the 2009 Let’s Go Flying Sweepstakes, and more recently an American Champion Champ accepted with gratitude by the AOPA Foundation. Huck, who flew for nearly 70 years, personally sponsored the Air Safety Institute’s “Aging Gracefully, Flying Safely” online course.
“It was a privilege to know Lloyd. He was a tremendously accomplished person, and pilot,” said AOPA Foundation President Bruce Landsberg. “We are in his debt, and we will continue the work he valued and supported, both with his resources and his time and dedication.”
In a Nov. 5 interview, Huck said the work of AOPA and the AOPA Foundation is “very important” to preserving freedom to fly and addressing the decline in the pilot population. “I think AOPA is addressing those issues in the best possible way.”
Huck soloed in 1943 and earned a place in the cockpit of the B-29 “Superfortress” after serving as an Army Air Corps flight instructor. A 1946 graduate of Penn State University (his college career was put on hold when he joined the military), Huck continued to serve in the reserves after leaving active duty, and built a career in pharmaceuticals. He joined Merck & Co., Inc. in 1959 as marketing director and retired as chairman of the board; he then served as chairman and CEO of Nova Pharmaceutical Company until 1991.
Huck owned several aircraft, and recalled in November that aviation was one of the great joys he shared with his wife, Dottie, and their children.
AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Dave Hirschman recalled the day Huck delivered his SR22 to AOPA, and then flew home to State College with Hirschman.
“I expected him to be sad and maybe a bit depressed after he had said goodbye to that magnificent airplane knowing that the end of his storied flying career was drawing near – but he was anything but,” Hirschman recalled. “Lloyd was upbeat and excited about the airplane’s new mission, and convinced that aviation had given him much more than he could ever repay.”
Huck explained to Hirschman a perspective shaped by wartime experience:
“So many of the people I flew with died so young,” Huck recalled. “They never got the chance to have families, careers, travel, and satisfy their curiosity. I’ve been tremendously fortunate in all those regards.”
Calling hours will be 2 p.m. until 4 p.m. Dec. 22 at Koch Funeral Home, 2401 South Atherton Street, State College. Burial will be private at Whitemarsh Cemetery in Ambler, Pa.
Arrangements are under the care of Koch Funeral Home, State College. Online condolences and signing of the guest book may be entered at the Koch Funeral Home website.
AOPA Online Associate Editor Jim Moore joined AOPA in 2011 and is an instrument-rated private pilot who enjoys competition aerobatics.
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