Homer Kolb dies at 78

Homer Kolb, 78, of Phoenixville, Pa., died July 12 about a week after successful surgery to implant stents into blocked arteries. Kolb was the designer of numerous ultralight and experimental aircraft going back to 1980.

Homer and Clara Kolb

Homer and Clara Kolb

He was elected to the EAA Hall of Fame in 1999 and has received countless additional honors and recognitions.

His wife, Clara, survives, along with a son and daughter.

Kolb spent his official working days behind the wheel of a UPS truck, driving freight from Pennsylvania to New York and back daily. But his heart and mind were always at his farm in Phoenixville where he designed and developed his numerous – and almost all successful – aircraft.

After retiring from his truck driving job, he spent more time with his airplanes and also expanded his collection of John Deere tractors. His vast collection of tractors, which he lovingly restored, included one of every model built by the company. A source of pride was finding and restoring to near new condition one originally acquired by his father years earlier.

Kolb, with his wife Clara, established and built into a successful business the Kolb Aircraft Co. He later sold the business and retired, although he almost always made it to Oshkosh and Sun ‘n Fun.

In 2008 he held another Kolb Family Fly-In at his Phoenixville farm, attended by many Kolb aircraft owners from around the country.

On a personal note, we considered Homer a friend. He and Clara toured Mary Lou and I all over the Pennsylvania area where he lived, including the Gettysburg Battlefield and many other places.

Homer was one of those rare individuals in the business world – aviation and otherwise. He was a friend to everyone. He was honest to a fault and was generous with his time, talent and fortune.

As Clara said when she called to tell me the news, God must have had something that needed repairing, so He called Homer. Whether it is an airplane, a tractor or a model train, I bet that Homer has it running perfectly and looking brand new.


  1. Julie Tucker says

    The Kolb family gave us kids some of the fondest memories of our lives. On the occasion we’d play in their beautiful creeks and streams catching crayfish in the summer, and in the winter they’d allow us kids to skate on their pond. They were always generous about it and never chased us kids away. They were always kind to us, and helped my Mom. Homer would take his snow plow and plow my Mom’s driveway out of the goodness of his heart without asking. Til this day I have fond memories of those magical days. We always loved seeing the family fly around the neighborhood too. Our prayers go out to the very loving and talented Kolb family. Their family and their beautiful property is so special to our neighborhood, we hope they never leave the area. Wonderful people. God Bless, they touched our family, and I’m sure they never knew what their kindness meant us.

  2. Andy Fry says

    I was a neighbor of Homer’s (about an air mile away) and followed him on one of his flights over my house. He was very nice to me and explained everything about his “Kolb Flyer.” I really enjoyed my several visits with him. I now live in Hawaii and work in Security at Kalaeloa Airport (formerly Barber’s Point Naval Air Station) and there is a “Kolb Flyer” here. The owner of it and I discuss Homer and his aviation background. Just today as we were talking I looked Homer up and found that he had passed. sorry to find that out and may his family be blessed by God.

  3. says

    Homer was a friend from PAX – just now I was going to recontact him only to find out sadly that he has passed on. I guess now I’ll have to wait to see him in Heaven to get caught up on our experiences. In PAX he was fun to be around and we shared good times and grew up together in PAX. We learned about a larger world than what our Mennonite communities provided us – and it was a wonderful time to be young and alive post WW2. This is a good lesson – don’t put off contacting old friends – call them up, email them, visit and talk together or one day they will have gone on without you.

  4. Chuck Slusarczyk says

    I just heard about Homer while attending the Sun n Fun airshow last week . I was under the weather last year recovering from a Stroke and missed the story about Homer.Our sons played together at the Sun n Fun and I had the previledge of being inducted along with Homerand John Moodey into the EAA HOF. Homer was not only a business competitor but a long time friend.My deepest personal condolences to Clara and the rest of Homers family for their loss.Homer not only was a great designer but a Good honest man.I’m proud to have known him.Clear skies and tailwinds old friend God Bless. Chuck S

  5. Durell N. Frankenfield says

    Hello my name is Durell N. Frankenfield, I’ve had the priviledge of marring Jacob & Phyllis Moyer’s daughter Beth back Valentine’s Day of this year. Beth spoke very highly of Homer in the years I’ve known her. Beth asked if I was going to accompany her to the viewing, I told her this is the closest opportunity on earth that I’ll come to meeting this great man. Just like Beth’s father, who I never officially met, looks like I’ll have to wait until heaven to officially meet Homer. My thoughts and prayers are with you Clara during this time.

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