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.
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.