College to Receive Vintage Aircraft Collection, Airport
OTW Army trainer
February 3, 2011 — Thanks to the generosity of a Madison, Ohio, teacher and longtime EAA member and pilot, Lake Erie College in Ohio will soon possess an incredible collection of vintage airplanes, as well as an airport on which to operate them. Gretchen Reed, who was an EAA and Vintage member for 20 years (1980-2009), recently announced the gift of 18 vintage airplanes (15 of them airworthy) as well as the Pheasant Run Airport (OI31) to the college, located in Painesville, Ohio.
The collection includes a Fokker DR-1 reproduction; a Ryan ST3-W used in the 1942 movie Dive Bomber starring Errol Flynn and Fred MacMurray;, an Interstate L-6; and an OTW Army trainer used in the movie The Misfits featuring Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe. The airport is on 128 acres 15 minutes east of the college’s main campus and includes several hangars, two grass runways, and an aviation museum. All together it represents a multi-million dollar donation.
Gretchen and her late husband, Charles F. Reed, both pilots, amassed the collection over several decades. “Chuck and I did not imagine that our 68-acre purchase nearly 35 years ago would become the foundation for an aviation museum,” she said. “Pheasant Run Airport and its buildings, runways, collection of historical airplanes, and memorabilia grew with the efforts of our families, friends, and the local aviation community.
“Our choice was to give what we had produced back to the community that ‘produced’ us,” Reed continued. “Although Chuck did not live to see Lake Erie College as the entity perpetuating his dream, he would have been proud beyond words to be part of such a dynamic, respected educational institution.”
According to the college, Mrs. Reed and her friends will continue to maintain the grounds and planes. She also is current and continues to fly her favorite airplanes, an Aeronca L-16 and an Aeronca Champ. The college will eventually take possession of the aircraft.
“The Reed gift is one of the largest in the college’s 155-year history and one of the most unique gifts in modern philanthropy,” said Scott Evans, vice president for institutional advancement. “Mrs. Reed looks forward to seeing the college use the property and planes in our work – that was her goal.” Other vintage aircraft collectors have also expressed an interest in donating planes to the college after hearing about the Reed gift, he added.
Susan Licate, director of alumni and public relations, said the gift will allow the college to reinstitute an aviation program. “Aviation studies was an early program offering at the college,” she said. “With this generous donation, it comes full circle. Aviation will also be a part of other areas of study at Lake Erie College.”