Will Martin, 92, passed away peacefully January 13 surrounded by family in Chicago, Ill. Will and his beloved wife of 63 years, Patricia (nee Daggett) enjoyed their summer home on Wymer Lake for many years.
Will was an accomplished pilot. He flew his P-51 Mustang “El Gato,” a high performance WWII fight plane in many air shows around the Midwest and could be seen in the Frazee sky from time to time in the late 1970s. His odyssey of buying the Nicaraguan military’s fleet of WW II aircraft shortly after the Cuban Missile Crisis and returning them to the U.S. became the basis of his book, So I Bought an Air Force, considered a modern aviation classic. Over his career as president of a business consultancy, Will served on many Chicago-area boards. A former sailboat racer, Will was a lifelong member of the Chicago Yacht Club. Will also loved his dogs, root beer floats, riding horses and motorcycles, and playing boogie-woogie on the piano. He bought his last motorcycle at age 90, much to the dismay of his daughters, but completely consistent with his approach to life. As one niece said, “Uncle Will taught us adventure.”
Survivors include his wife, Patricia, his daughters Suzanne (Hart Weichselbaum) and Cassandra (the late James J. Moran), six grandchildren Claire, Paul, Alexandra, Christina, Anastasia, and Andrew, his brother Glenn Martin (Bobbe), his brothers-in-law Delta (Karen) Daggett and David (Roxann) Daggett, his sister-in-law, Lois (nee Daggett) Gernbacher, and many nieces, nephews, and cousins.
A memorial service will be held in Chicago at a future date. The EAA has established a scholarship fund in Will’s name that will provide young people the chance to learn to fly.
For those who wish to donate, visit www.eaa.org/donate and select “Other Named Scholarship” then enter “Will Martin Flight Training Scholarship.”