HENRY (HANK) RODAHAVER, 100, flew his “final takeoff to that great Hangar in the Sky” on February 11, 2022 at his home in Summerfield, Florida (Del Webb Spruce Creek Golf and Country Club). He was born in Somerfield, Pennsylvania on November 17, 1921 to WILLIAM RODAHAVER AND BESSE RODAHAVER.
Henry is survived by ELIZABETH (“BETH”) RODAHAVER, his wife of 33 ½ years, his daughter, JUDY KEMP of Summerland Key, Florida, his step-daughter, Malia Waldheim and her husband Scott of Georgia and grandsons. Henry and Beth Rodahaver lived at Love’s Landing Aviation Community before moving to Del Webb Spruce Creek Golf and County Club.
HENRY (HANK) RODAHAVER was an ardent aviation enthusiast. His life was impassioned by aviation. At age 4 (four) he looked into the cockpit of a Curtiss Jenny. At age 5, he heard Lindbergh made it. In 1933, HENRY took his first airplane ride in a Ford Tri-Motor. Henry had to be a pilot, so in 1940, at age 18, he started lessons and soloed in his first love, “a little yellow J-3 Cub.”
His first aviation job was with Fairchild Aircraft Factory in Hagerstown, Maryland building PT 19 airplanes. Shortly afterwards he joined Dick Henson War Training Service. Henry was accepted in the Civilian Pilot Training Program and got his private pilot’s certificate. Henry joined the US ARMY AIR CORPS and was a World War II Veteran.
HENRY RODAHAVER was a building block when commercial aviation was in its infancy. He worked for TWA and later DuPont and others started All American Airways. This airline was his lifelong career commitment. He started there in 1949 and then it became Allegheny Airlines, USAIR AND USAIRWAYS and retired after almost 40 years.
During his career Henry worked as a Mechanic, Lead Mechanic and Inspector. That was just some of his career, but then there was retirement. AVIATION AND LOVE OF AVIATION WAS HIS LIFE. Throughout retirement he flew, instructed student pilots and restored airplanes. He had a private pilots’ license, a commercial pilot’s license, an instructor’s license and a Power and Airframe license. His notable restorations were a Fairchild PT 26, a Piper Stinson 108-3 and a Piper J-3 Clip Wing Experimental Cub.
HENRY RODAHAVER Received numerous awards: (1.) EAA Alexandria, Virginia Chapter for his J-3 Cub, which was licensed as an Experimental Airplane (2.) was recipient of the FAA “Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award” (3.) recipient of the FAA “Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Award” (4.) is honored in the Udvar–Hazy Center –Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum on the “Wall of Honor” (5.) Sen. Baxley issued a Proclamation on November 17, 2021 marking Hank’s 100th Birthday at a huge celebration organized by the Del Webb Spruce Creek Golf and Country Club Veterans Association.
HENRY (“HANK”) RODAHAVER’S life has now gone full circle and is completed. The Del Webb Spruce Creek Golf and Country Club Veteran’s Association arranged for HENRY RODAHAVER to once again pilot “a little yellow J-3 Cub” at age 100. It was three (3) “touch and go’s and now HENRY RODAHAVER has flown higher still, beyond the bonds of Earth.
“OH, I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds- and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of- wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hovering there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air….
UP, UP the long, delirious burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or ever eagle flew-
And, while with silent, lifting mind, I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand AND TOUCHED THE FACE OF GOD.-
(John Gillespie Magee, Jr.)
A Memorial Service will be held at Florida National Cemetery, at a later date.
Your Dad, in receiving his Master Pilot and Master Mechanic Awards, joined an extraordinarily exclusive assembly of aviation professionals. I was honored to publicly introduce your father at his Master Pilot Award ceremony at Sun-n-Fun, and in so doing, made a life-long friend in you! Deepest sympathies for your loss.
I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your father. This world would be a much better place if there were more men like him. I know you have soooo many fond memories and stories. Share them as often as you can.
Thank you for your service Sir and may you Rest in Peace.
Bob doing Hanks Avionics introduction to Miss Lee.
I'm putting on Hanks LBA Cap
Hank receiving an LBA cap.
It was an Honor to have known Hank. He had such a great smile. I have that image if him flying my Cub and he will be forever in my thoughts. It was one of the Greatest Highlights of Bob's Career as a Pilot to take Hank up flying. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and you both are so loved by this community. God's blessings to you both!!
The Love’s Landing Cheering Squad for Hank’s 100th Birthday Flight
Hank shaking hands with Bobby Blankenship (owner & Pilot) who took Hank for his 100th Birthday flight and 3 landings at Love’s Landing Aviation Community
Hank getting ready to fly on his 100th Birthday in this beautiful Piper Cub
Pilots & Friends: Bob Blankenship, Kevin Oliver & Hank at his 100th Birthday Celebration
Kevin & Dara Oliver with Hank & Beth Rodahaver at the Love’s Landing Fly-In
Hank (almost 100 years old) sitting on Kevin Oliver’s almost 100 year old Indian PowerPlus with Sidecar
Sorry for your loss Judy. He will be missed. Richard Mains
What a life on this earth that your father experienced. He certainly was one person who showed many how to live and soar above the crowds. May he Rest In Peace and please know that we send our condolences and our love. Please stay in touch and know we appreciate your friendship. Paul & Kathy Belosh
HENRY RODAHAVER J-4 CUB
HENRY RODAHAVER CESSNA 172C
HENRY RODAHAVER SHOPPING
HENRY RODAHAVER FLYING
HENRY RODAHAVER EATING STONE CRAB CLAWS
HENRY RODAHAVER FLYING CESSNA 150
Ken & Kristi
Craig and Tony