This is topic F/E Wilson Baumgras Flies West in forum TWA at Smilin' Jack.
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Posted by Irish (Member # 722) on
Wilson Baumgras, age 96,"Flew West" on October 1, 2014.
Born in Lansing, Michigan in 1918 to Julius P. and Harriet (Wilder) Baumgras, was one of seven children. He was raised on a working farm and could drive a team of horses and milk the cows. He witnessd the coming of indoor plumbing and the passing of steam trains and migrants during the Great Depression. Wilson left home for the CCC and mechanics school. He had a way with tools and became an aircraft mechanic, and eventually began a lifelong career with TWA as a Flight Engineer.
Work took him to Chicago, St. Louis, and then overseas to Africa and Europe, transporting goods and materials during the war. Wilson spent most of his career based in San Francisco, flying routes over the Pacific. From the DC-4 to the Boeing 707, his favorite was undoubtedly the Lockheed Constellation, which is where he met his wife and lifelong companion, Doris Leiter.
They were married in 1952 in Chicago, and after the birth of the first of five children in 1954, moved to Sebastopol and founded Santa's Tree Farm, now the oldest in Sonoma County. Willie was a natural with plants and animals. There were horses, cows, pigs, sheep, chickens, cats, and always a dog. He was a prolific gardener. One garden was not enough, and he wore out his share of tractors.
Wilson and his quiet strength are missed by his wife Doris and their five children: Rebecca (David), Katherine, Margaret, Thomas (Elsa) of Sebastopol, Philip of Bremerton, Washington, and grandchildren: Sam and Jenna Edwards and Corey Lombardo, also of Sebastopol.
Rest in Peace, Mr. Baumgras
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