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Fri, Jan 28, 2011

Aviatrix And Retired Teacher Donates Historic Aircraft, Airport

Lake  Erie College Receives Collection Which Includes A Fokker DR-1, An Interstate L-6, And A Ryan ST3-W

In what is likely one of the more unusual multi-million dollar donations to an institute of higher learning ... officials at Ohio's Lake Erie College said Thursday that it has received the nearby the Pheasant Run Airport (OI31) located in Madison, Ohio, one of the largest vintage aircraft collections in the country, and a significant endowment to support the property, planes and related programs.

Pheasant Run Airport

The gift is from Lake County resident, Gretchen Reed, who retired in 1995 from the Riverside Local School District where she taught high school English and aviation. Her late husband, Charles F. Reed, was an Air Force veteran and led an air/sea rescue team in Alaska. He was an executive at Avery-Dennison (Fasson) in Painesville and held several patents with the company.

The two private pilots amassed a collection of antique aircraft over a period of several decades; 18 are hangared at Pheasant Run Airport, and 15 are flyable. They preferred the simplicity of systems and the historical significance of older airplanes. The Reeds appeared in a one-hour documentary, “The Restorers,” produced by Hemlock Films of Cleveland, Ohio in 2003.

Ryan ST3

Pheasant Run Airport is situated on 128 acres in Leroy Township (Madison), 15 minutes east of the College’s main campus. Several hangars, two grass runways, an aviation museum, pond and woodlands comprise the property. Mrs. Reed will continue to maintain the grounds and planes with the help of friends. She continues to fly her favorite airplanes, the Aeronca L-16 and an Aeronca Champ, both are single-engine, military planes built in 1945 and used for WWII observation and search and rescue.

Lake Erie College will eventually own the airplanes. The collection includes a Fokker DR-1, a reproduction of the triplane flown by the Red Baron in World War I; a Ryan ST3-W, a fighter-trainer plane that was used in the 1942 movie “Dive Bomber” starring Errol Flynn and Fred MacMurray; an Interstate L-6, an observation scout plane used by General George Patton during World War II; and, an OTW Army trainer plane that was used in the movie “The Misfits” featuring Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe.

Fokker DR-1

“We are delighted to be the recipients of Gretchen Reed’s generosity and her husband’s tremendous legacy,” said Michael T. Victor, president of Lake Erie College. “We have many opportunities to incorporate the property and collections into our academic and professional development programs. Additionally, we are excited about sharing this new learning environment with our students and alumni later this year.”

“Chuck and I did not imagine that our 68-acre purchase nearly 35 years ago would become the foundation for an aviation museum,” said Gretchen Reed. “Pheasant Run Airport and its buildings, runways, collection of historical airplanes and memorabilia grew with the efforts of our families, friends and the local aviation community.”

Interstate L-6

“Reaching senior citizen status has its own set of inevitable decisions,” Reed added. “Our choice was to give what we had produced back to the community that ‘produced’ us. Although Chuck did not live to see Lake Erie College as the entity perpetuating his dream, he would have been proud beyond words to be part of such a dynamic, respected educational institution.”

OTW Trainer

“The Reed gift is one of the largest in the College’s 155-year history and one of the most unique gifts in modern philanthropy,” said Scott Evans, vice president for institutional advancement. “Mrs. Reed looks forward to seeing the College use the property and planes in our work – that was her goal. She will inspire others to consider what they can do for Lake Erie College. Other vintage aircraft collectors have expressed an interest in donating planes to the College after hearing about the Reed gift,” he added.

FMI: www.lakeerie.edu


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