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At 83 years of age, retired Lt Col Glenn "Wimpy" Peake (USAF), THUD driver, tactical trainer, father and friend, in the language of his fellow fighter pilots … flew west on December 3, 2012.
The only child of Alida Jo (Hamilton) and Roy Peake, he was raised in northern California, spending formidable years in Fall River Mills with his uncle Fred Hamilton and graduating high school in Arbuckle.
Glenn had a love of flying from a young age of building and competing with large, hand-launched gliders to crop dusting in central California to piloting fighter jets. He was a fighter pilot's fighter pilot, well regarded by his superiors, peers and subordinates alike.
In December of 1950, he enlisted in the Air Force, was accepted into the Aviation Cadet program soon after and commissioned as a 2nd Lt in 1954. Early in his career, now 1st Lt, he received a commendation for inventing a starter for the F-100 that, in the words of his commendation, "promoted mobility in the Air Force," making it possible for pilots to start their own jets from the cockpit. At the beginning of the Vietnam War he taught young pilots to be proficient with the F-105D (THUD) at Fighter Weapons School at Nellis AFB, then followed a group of them to Southeast Asia where he flew 106 missions as a THUD pilot from Korat Thailand with the 421st Tactical Fighter Squadron, the Fighting Cavaliers, and as a Wild Weasel as part of the Rolling Thunder campaign. Among other recognitions and commendations, he was awarded multiple Air Medals, the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Silver Star. Before his retirement from Nellis, Glenn developed the tactical fighter training, Red Flag.
After retirement from the Air Force and a short stint as a partner in an advertising agency, Glenn started his second career when he discovered he could get paid to fish. He moved his family from Las Vegas to Fortuna, California and promptly traded his Lincoln Continental for a small fishing boat. Within a few years, he had his own boat built, the Mona Kay. On this boat, and on the Leona C, which he later purchased … he and his wife, Mona Kay, fished commercially for crab and salmon for seventeen years.
When the fishing industry slowed, Glenn turned his attention to another long held interest, sporting clays, and began his third and final career. Always a problem solver and an inventor, he applied his considerable intellect to producing an effective counter system for skeet and other sporting clay ranges that prevented inventory loss. He was working to fulfill orders for clients around the western United States up to the day he passed.
Glenn is survived by his wife of thirty-eight years, Kay Peake; son, David and wife Heather; and grandchildren, Nathanael, Grace and Stephen. At his request, there will be no services. However, his life is being celebrated at www.facebook.com/glennwimpypeake.
Published in Willows Journal from Jan. 12 to Jan. 19, 2013