October 17, 2012
By Jim Moore
Monte R. Mitchell, who built the Aircraft Electronics Association into a worldwide organization and left a lasting mark on general aviation, died Oct. 16 following a brief illness.
Mitchell was the first full-time director hired by the association in 1977, and served as president until 1996, tripling the membership base during that tenure and expanding from North America to 40 countries worldwide. He introduced programs including equipment exchange and an annual rate and labor survey, and stood beside President Bill Clinton during the 1994 signing of the General Aviation Revitalization Act, according to an association announcement of his death. Two of Mitchell’s three daughters—AEA President Paula Derks and Executive Vice President Debra McFarland—and one of his six grandchildren continue to serve the association.
"I know from personal experience that Monte Mitchell devoted his entire professional career to serving the general aviation avionics industry," said Derks in the association announcement. "He was respected and trusted by aviation professionals, and his knowledge and dedication to avionics made him a powerful leader in our industry. He truly loved serving and guiding the vision and mission of the AEA, and he will be dearly missed by so many friends and family."
A visitation and memorial service will be held Oct. 20 in Independence, Mo., and an online tribute welcomes contributions from family and friends.
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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