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McKINNON, DAN Jan. 27, 1934 to Nov. 22, 2012 Dan McKinnon loved adventure, competition, his family, his country and especially the Lord. He passed on November 22, 2012 from neuroendocrine cancer. Dan led a life full of variety and wide ranging experience as a Navy Pilot, radio station owner, government official and airline president. Dan was born in San Bernardino, CA in 1934 to Clinton and Lucile McKinnon. He attended both Pt. Loma high school and Capitol Page School, where he earned his diploma signed by one of his idols, President Harry Truman. He then attended and graduated from the University of Missouri and through the NROTC program received his commission as an Ensign in the U.S. Navy. He served in the Navy's first helicopter squadron, HU-1, and holds the Navy's peacetime helicopter rescue record of 62 air/sea saves. His adventures in the Navy are shared in Rescue Pilot, his book published by McGraw Hill. Dan considered earning his "Wings of Gold" among one of his proudest life accomplishments. In 1962, along with his brother Mike, Dan purchased KSON AM/FM radio which Dan owned and operated for 23 years. Dan is responsible for the country music format that KSON is still known for today. Dan then went on to work for President Reagan as the chairman of the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB), and was responsible for deregulating the airline industry. Dan was very proud to be the first person to close down a government agency. Following the closure of the CAB, William J. Casey, director of the Central Intelligence Agency, asked Dan to help him with some special projects for which Dan was awarded the Agency Seal Medallion. In 1989, Dan founded North American Airlines, based out of JFK Airport in New York. North American Airlines grew from one new B757 to a fleet of five B757s and three B767-300ERs flying worldwide. He sold the airline to World Airlines in 2005. Dan loved sports, including: aerobatic flying, dirt biking, sailing, SCUBA diving, including underwater photography, trap and skeet shooting, tennis, to name a few. His favorite avocation was working at his Wildcat Canyon Ranch. He is survived by his wife of 30 years, Janice, and by children Holly McKinnon, Sherri Orr, Clint McKinnon, and Lisa McKinnon, his brother Mike McKinnon, owner of KUSI TV, sister Connie McKinnon, mother Lucille McKinnon, as well as 11 grandchildren. Services will take place 11:30 a.m., Thursday, November 29th, at Clairemont Emmanuel Baptist Church (2610 Galveston St. San Diego, CA 92110) with interment following at Miramar National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to The San Diego Wounded Warrior Project, 619-981-9642.

Published in The San Diego Union Tribune on Nov. 27, 2012
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