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Owen Q. Niehaus

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Owen Q. Niehaus Obituary
AVIATOR AND RENAISSANCE MAN - Williamsburg - Owen Quintin Niehaus, 91, passed away peacefully surrounded by his family on July 13, 2014. He was born in Rochester, PA and was predeceased by his parents Elmer Niehaus and Gladys Niehaus. He is survived by his wife of 68 years, Caryl nee Gramer, his daughter Christine Niehaus and her husband Harris Simon, all of Williamsburg. Owen's fascination for flight began very early. At the age of 9 he was building model airplanes, eventually moving into flyable versions. He earned a private license prior to World War II. He signed up for cadet training in the Army Air Corps. After receiving his commission in Class 44A he was assigned as a flight instructor. Soon thereafter he signed up for helicopter training. He was one of the nation's first 15 helicopter pilots, and in 1945 was the first person to test fire a 75 millimeter recoilless weapon from a helicopter. Two years later he became the second man in the free world to accumulate 1000 "first-pilot" hours in a chopper. When he retired from the military as a Captain he worked as a test pilot for Bell Aircraft Corporation in Niagara Falls, NY, soon becoming the company's Chief Test Pilot for both fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters. He had flown 67 different types of aircraft. He received the "National Heroism Award in World War II". When he ended his flying career he joined the engineering department at Bell. In 1969 Owen and his wife Caryl moved to New Orleans. He joined ECI, Inc., a local insurance and pension planning firm, which he purchased two years later. In 2002 he was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Niagara Aerospace Museum. In addition to his awards Mr. Niehaus held many patents. He was a true Renaissance man with a passion for learning something new, with the motto "If it has an unknown component, I like to dig in. If I find a subject interesting I get excited about it. I want to know more and to contribute to the subject." On many fronts his contributions have been outstanding. A memorial service will be held Wednesday, July 23, 2:00 p.m., at Williamsburg Presbyterian Church. The family will receive visitors after the service in Stevenson Fellowship Hall at the church. In lieu of flowers memorial gifts may be sent to Williamsburg Faith in Action,; Respite Care Center (RCC) of Williamsburg United Methodist Church, or Williamsburg Presbyterian Church, For full obituary and online condolences please visit www.bucktroutfuneralhome.net
Published in Daily Press on July 19, 2014
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