Roy Franklin: A Life of Service to Aviation and the Community

The following was written by Dr. John Geyman, on the passing of his, and our, friend Roy Franklin.  No one could have said it better.


The San Juan Islands have lost a hero in the passing of Roy Franklin.  He was a legend in his own time and his death leaves a gaping hole in our aviation and island community.

But look at what he accomplished over his life of dedicated service, despite all the obstacles, as recounted in his excellent book Island Bush Pilot!  From flying Hellcats and Corsairs off jeep carriers in World War II to establishing scheduled air service connecting the San Juan Islands to the mainland in 1947, and to carving out our present airport from the woods in 1960.  Flying night and day in all kinds of weather for emergency medical flights in the years before navigational aids.  And all that with a perfect safety record over more than 30 years of scheduled air service.  So many Islanders owe their health, and sometimes their lives, to his courage, skill and carefully calculated judgments about whether or not and how to fly.  He is the reason that we have such a good airport and aviation community today.

Roy was his own man.  He was used to running his own life, even in death.  In his later years, he was hobbled by increasing joint pain and difficulty in getting around.  I understand and respect his way of flying on to the next chapter.

Roy, you have left behind an inspiring and legendary life of service to others.  We are the fortunate benefactors of all you have done.  You have earned a rest.  I hope you are soaring with eagles over these very islands that you served so well.  Goodbye and thank you for being you.

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About Bryan Hoyer

Inventor, Entrepreneur and Adventurer
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