Leonard “Len” Miller, 99 of Quanah, Texas died on Monday, Nov. 9, 2015, in Quanah, Texas.
Len was born Saturday, Jan. 8, 1916 in Walbash County, Indiana; he was the son of the late Otto Miller and the late Elsa Ridgeway Miller. He married Melba Jean Haynes on Nov. 5, 1946 in Lockett, Texas. She preceded him in death on Jan. 30, 2007.
Len first soloed in 1940 and bought his first airplane, a 40-horsepower Taylorcraft, in 1941. He obtained his private and commercial license in 1942. He served in the US Army Air Corp 1943-1946 during WWII. He was a pilot trainer and flight instructor for Victory Field in Vernon, TX.
In 1953 he moved to Odell to farm. He tried his hand at selling cars, driving a truck, hauling hay and farming, but none of that could scratch the flying itch. He decided to be a crop duster and bought his first spray plane. He was owner and operated Odell Flying service from 1960-1998. Miller was also manager of Quanah Airport for 35 years, 1980 until his death. He was also a member of the Odell School Board.
In 1996 he was awarded the TxDOT Airport Manager of the Year and in 2013 received the Texas Aviator of the Year at the Texas Aviation Conference at the age of 97.
Among his many aviation achievements include flying over 200 different types of aircraft and refurbishing many airplanes. Len also shared his passion of aviation by teaching over 3,000 students how to fly, including his wife, two brothers, one daughter, and all five of his grandsons.
“Texas has lost a true legend in the aviation community,” said TxDOT Aviation Division Director David Fulton. “It was an honor for us to award him the 2013 Texas Aviator of the Year Award. His contributions to general aviation in Texas cannot be overstated. It was a sad day to hear of his passing.”