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Obituaries

Calvin Bugbee (10/20/1921 - 02/26/2013)


Born on October 20, 1921 and growing up in a small town, he joined the Army Air Corp in 1943, to do his part in the war effort, flying C-46’s on the other side of the world, in the China – Burma Theater.
“The Hump” as it was known, was an airlift to ferry supplies from India across the Eastern Himalayan Mountains to China. The experience and knowledge that he will gain here, will serve him well later in life when he becomes a civilian pilot for Western Airlines.
An Aeronautical Engineer by training, after the war, he joined Lockheed Corporation, designing parts for the Lockheed Constellation, but flying was in his blood. He left Lockheed in 1949 to take a position with Western Airlines as a DC-3 First Officer or Co-Pilot, as it was more commonly known back then. The DC-3 was a similar aircraft to the C-46 that he had flown in “The Hump” and he settled in quickly. Almost a year later, he upgraded to Captain on the DC-3 and an amazing career was well under way.
At approximately the same time he married his sweetheart, Beverly on August 25th, 1950 and they settled in Denver where Cal was currently based with Western Airlines. They were soon blessed with a daughter and a son.
Throughout his remarkable career he had the opportunity to fly the Douglas DC-3, the Convair 240, the Douglas DC-6, the Lockheed L-188 Electra, the Boeing 707 and 720 and finally, his favorite airplane, the McDonnell Douglas DC-10. He retired in October of 1981 with a career spanning thirty two years.
But Aviation was not just his job, it was his passion. In his free time he built many airplanes, sometimes two or three at a time. Some were kits, with parts cut out and ready to assemble, but most were just a set of plans that required each part to be carefully crafted and fabricated. And occasionally, he would draft his own plans, drawing on his Aeronautical Engineering background. He loved to fly the airplanes he built and up until just a few short years ago, he was flying one of them out at Clermont County Airport, but he finally sold it at the age of eighty five. But he didn’t stop there. He immediately began building another airplane.
Cal died on February 26th in the company of his wife and family. His fifteen year battle with cancer has finally claimed him and for his last two years he was in great pain. For ninety one years he shone as bright as the sun, but now that light is gone. But his reflection still shines on in everyone that knew him, every life that he touched. That part of him will always be with us.

A memorial gathering and service will be held Monday, March 4 from 2 PM until 3 PM at E.C. Nurre Funeral Home, 177 W. Main St., Amelia. In lieu of flowers, memorials for Aviation Scholars may be directed to University of Cincinnati Foundation, 4200 Clermont Drive, Batavia, OH 45103.