Long-time PAMA friend Eugene (Gene) C. Breiner, passed away on Aug 7 at the age of 92.
Upon his passing, his daughter Joyce Breiner found what is believed to be one of the first PAMA banners among his belongings (seen pictured, below). The handmade felt flag was likely made as early as 1969, when Gene was an FAA maintenance inspector in Richmond.
According to his daughter, Gene created the banner with the help of a commercial artist and family friend, on the floor of the friend's home outside of Richmond.
The family is eager to hear of Gene’s role in PAMA’s creation and during its infancy. All are encouraged to provide information, share memories and offer condolences in the comments below.
A private gathering is planned for August with a public Celebration of Life on October 20, 2018, at the Bermudian Valley Airpark in Kralltown, PA. For more information and to RSVP for the service, visit the eVite.com announcement. Condolences may also be sent to the family at www.heintzelmanfuneralhome.com.
In lieu of flowers, a memorial aviation scholarship is being planned and will be announced soon.
The following edited version of Gene’s obituary is provided in remembrance:
Eugene (Gene) C. Breiner, 92, passed away quietly and peacefully, surrounded by loved ones, on Tuesday, August 7, 2018 at his home in Newville, Pennsylvania after a long illness. He was clear headed to the end, sharing stories from the depth and breadth of his lifetime during his final weeks.
He was born in Tamaqua, Pennsylvania on October 29, 1925. He graduated from Tamaqua High School, Class of 1943, Tamaqua, Pennsylvania and graduated as an aircraft mechanic from Williamsport Technical Institute (now known as Pennsylvania College of Technology) Class of 1944. Gene married the love of his life, Ardella, on May 7, 1949 at Ellington AFS in Houston, Texas. He was well known and loved in the Pennsylvania general aviation and home-built aviation communities.
Gene's quick wit, fun humor, unwavering passion and love for aviation is known in many parts far away and close at home. We were lucky to have him be our parent, grandparent or friend and we will treasure the fun moments and remember his life wisdoms he would share freely.
He was a Korean War veteran, serving part of that time on Johnston Island in the Pacific (1950). His aviation career started at Sunbury Airport and he operated a maintenance shop at Danville Airport, Danville, Pennsylvania, starting in 1952, as an Airframe & Powerplant mechanic before completing a 30-year career as a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Principal Airworthiness Inspector (Maintenance).
He retired in 1989, beginning a new phase as devoted primary caretaker for Ardella during her final years. Concurrently and after she passed away, Gene’s retirement years were spent as a FAA Designated Airworthiness Representative, continually mentoring others in the aviation maintenance field. Untold hours were spent at his ‘aviation home’ with his flying family of friends at Bermudian Valley Airpark, Kralltown, Pennsylvania. Outside of work, one of his most notable life accomplishments was restoring and flying a 1929 Fleet Model 2, now residing in the Smithsonian, as he hoped to inspire others especially the young to fly. He named it “Plane Jane”, because it was “just a plain airplane” and made sure that everyone knew “it was NOT a Stearman”! He also restored, flew, and maintained a 1936 J-2 Taylorcraft Cub and 1947 PA-12 Piper Super Cruiser in retirement.
Gene was thrilled to play a small role in the Wright Flyer aircraft replica project that flew at the Wright Brothers’ Centennial celebration in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina in 2003. On the walls of his home, he proudly displayed numerous awards from Fly-in events around the regional area honoring his work. He was a recipient of both the FAA Charles Taylor “Master Mechanic” Award and the FAA Wright Brothers “Master Pilot” Award honoring his 50+ years of aircraft mechanic and pilot experience, respectively. He was active in numerous aviation groups including the Quiet Birdmen, Experimental Aircraft Association, Antique Airplane Association (Potomac Chapter), the Piper Cub Club, International Fleet Club, OX-5 Pioneers and was a founding board member of the Sentimental Journey to Cub Haven Annual Fly-in and the Professional Aviation Maintenance Association. All told, his aviation career spanned 74 years and his love of aviation since a young child.
He is survived by his daughters Joyce K. Breiner (David Yaney) of Pooleville, MD and Janet L. Breiner (Todd Pearl) of Mechanicsburg, PA, and grandchildren Maria A. Breiner (Brandon Clouser), Alexander B. Yaney, and Mason E. Breiner (Bri L. McClauslin), and great granddaughter Lilian plus one due in April. Gene was preceded in death by his wife, Ardella M. (McNaughton), parents, Claude A. Breiner and Carrie P. (Frantz); and brother Allen R. Breiner, Sr.