Roscoe Morton, long the lead voice of the Experimental Aircraft Association’s summer celebrations, whose life story in aviation earned him honors as the “essence of EAA,” has died. He was 81.
An Air Force veteran, flight instructor, aerobatic team captain, and airline pilot who once worked as a train locomotive fireman to pay for flight lessons, Morton once explained that he loved his work as chief announcer at EAA AirVenture, and interviewing aviation performers and personalities, because the dialogs helped audiences appreciate what aviators do.
Appearing on AOPA Live in 2012, Morton recalled how his aviation announcing role evolved over 50 years, moved forward by requests from well-known performers for him to call their shows. He also recounted how AirVenture has grown from “a small fly-in to the world’s largest aviation event” that he would not miss “for anything.” Morton was also the announcer chairman at Sun 'n Fun in Lakeland, Fla., a member of its board of directors, and served as announcer at many other aviation events in the U.S. and abroad.
In 2009, Morton’s fond presence on the general aviation scene earned him the EAA President's Award, by which the organization seeks to honor “members whose participation and contributions represent the essence of EAA.”
“Roscoe Morton has been the voice of EAA and the public address system for decades,” said EAA Founder Paul Poberezny, presenting the award. “He not only does a great job in organizing our airshow announcers and activities, but he has done so for a long time.”
EAA’s tribute noted that Morton “began his aviation career by soloing—illegally—at age 15 in 1947,” later served with the Air Force in the Korean Conflict, became an airline pilot, retiring from Southern Airways (now Delta Airlines) as a Boeing 747 captain. He captained the U.S. Aerobatic Team three times in world competition, and also wrote an aerobatics book of rules.
According to an obituary posted by a funeral home in Lake Wales, Fla., Morton was born Dec. 10, 1931, in Elk Falls, Kan., where a funeral and interment were to take place.
Morton is survived by his wife Virginia; a son, Roscoe J. and wife, Lisa Morton of Commerce, Mich.; a sister, Suzanne M. Wyatt of Fort Worth, Texas; and three grandchildren, the obituary said.