Military veteran

Former Alaskan resident, Gilbert “Gil” E. Avila, 89, died peacefully at his home in Licking, Mo., on Sept. 25, 2010.

Gil was born Aug. 7, 1921, in Gustine, Calif. He graduated from Gustine High School in 1938. He served with the U.S. Army Air Corp., where he earned his A&E License. During WWII, Gil repaired P-38 and P-39 fighter planes in China, India, Burma and the Philippines. It was in February 1952 that Gil moved north to Fairbanks, Alaska, where he continued his involvement in aviation as a mechanic for Northern Consolidated Airlines. He was transferred to Bethel in 1953 and worked on his favorite airplane, the DC3.

He met and married his first wife, Mary, with whom he had three daughters. They moved to Anchorage in 1959 and in 1961, he founded Gil’s Aircraft Service on Merrill Field. That aircraft repair shop eventually expanded to include a flight school, charter service and Beechcraft dealership. Gill was presented the Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Award in 1994.

In Alaska, Gil was a past president of the Alaskan Airman’s Association and one of the founding members of the Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum. He was also an active member of the Lake Hood Lions Club, OX5 Pioneers, the QBs and other community organizations. At the age of 60, Gil became a licensed realtor.

In 1981, Gil married Elda, his loving wife of 27 years. Gil remained active in aviation and real estate in Anchorage until they moved to Licking, Mo., in 1995. There he was an active member of the Lions Club. Gil was an avid gardener his entire life. Other hobbies include woodworking, cooking and taking care of his beloved cats, Blackie and Whitey.

Gil was preceded in death by his wife, Elda; and his two brothers, George and Arthur.

Gil is survived by his three daughters, Karen Lederhos and her husband, Don, Roberta Avila and Liz Hartshorn and her husband, Tom; his step-daughter, Linda Holland and her husband, Bill; 10 grandchildren; and many great-grandchildren.

He will always be remembered for his love of family and aviation.

Service for Mr. Avila will be 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 2, 2010, at Licking Assembly of God Church with Pastors Paul Richardson and Anzel Shoults officiating. Burial is in Licking Cemetery.

Pallbearers are Bill Holland, Don Lederhos, Tom Hartshorn, Grant Holland, Brian Lederhos, Nick Williams and Rick Davis. Honorary pallbearers are Roy Cavaness and Jr. Vaughn.

All arrangements are under direction of Fox Funeral Home. Online condolences may be made at www.foxfh.net. Memorial contributions may be made to Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum or the Licking Lions Club.

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