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Arnold August Kolb

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Arnold August Kolb Obituary
Arnold A. Kolb, age 83, passed away Wednesday, April 27, 2011, in Alexandria, Va., while visiting his daughter for Easter. He was born May 8, 1927, the fifth of nine children to Rudolf and Amelia Kolb, near Bison, S.D., at the Kolb Ranch, delivered by his father, Rudolf.
His two sons, Sterling Arnold Kolb and Nathan Howard Kolb, preceded him in death. Surviving him is his beloved wife of 63 years, Florence; four daughters, Maurita and Gene Autrey, of San Antonio (Schertz), Texas, Pamela and Randy Parker, of Alexandria, Va., Theone and G.B. Oliver III, of La Luz, and Kimberly Mattson, of La Luz; six grandchildren, Sheryll Autrey and husband, Ken Farrell, Jean Pritchett and husband, Michael, Haley Parker, Nathan Parker, Summer Oliver and G.B. Oliver IV and wife, Jamie; and four great-grandchildren, Nikolas Farrell, Kennedy Farrell, Sean Pritchett and G.B. Oliver V.
Arnold began learning to fly from his brother Raymond in 1945. In 1948 he entered into business as vice president of Lemmon Aircraft Co. at Lemmon, S.D. In 1957 he sold his interest in that business and bought How-Kola Flying Service at Spearfish, S.D., and established Black Hills Aviation. He was involved in charter; air ambulance; student instruction; game census; corralling antelope; herding buffalo and wild horses; crop spraying; rides and tours for school children; scenic flights; aerial uranium detection and processing; forest patrol; aerial photography; cloud seeding and forest fire suppression with heavy aircraft; and flying doctors for medical missions to Mexico. He has taken time for courtesy flights for civic, church and charitable causes. In 1972, when Interstate 90 went through the Black Hills Airport, he moved the business to Alamogordo. The last B-17 he owned was given to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., when he upgraded his firefighting fleet to Lockheed P2V aircraft. He and his son Nathan flew the airplane to Washington for its presentation to the Smithsonian in 1984.
He had 24,000-plus hours holding ASMEL and instrument ratings, instructor/inspector designations, and type rating in B-17, L-P2V, FA-119c, CV-P4Y and CV-P411. He was a certified aviation mechanic with inspection authorization. He built and maintained shops where he and his employees did minor and major repairs and major overhauls. Rebuilding World War II aircraft, he engineered many improvements and designed retardant tanks that were certified with improved coverage on forest fires. He sold the Black Hills Aviation air tanker business in 1993. Arnold was inducted into the South Dakota Aviation Hall of Fame in August 1999. He was named to Who's Who in American Aviation and received Rotary's Paul Harris Fellowship Award.
Because Arnold was never in the military, he sustained the costs of his training. He has often said, ""I know there's money in aviation because I've put a lot of it there.""
Cremation has taken place with arrangements under the direction of the Jefferson Funeral Chapel, Alexandria, Va. The memorial service in Alamogordo will be Friday, May 13, 2011, at Grace United Methodist Church at 2 p.m. The service in Spearfish will be Tuesday, May 31, 2011, at 10 a.m. at the Spearfish United Methodist Church. Interment will take place at the Rose Hill Cemetery in Spearfish.
Published in Alamogordo Daily News from Apr. 30 to June 1, 2011
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