Longtime EAA Chapter 431 member and volunteer Ray Miller passed away at age 95 on Saturday, January 20th. His obituary is published HERE.
Many visitors to Brodhead Airport know Ray as the friendly face behind the famous pork chop roasts at the annual Pietenpol/Hatz and MAAC Grassroots fly-ins. Locals will remember Ray flying his homebuilt Volksplane VP-1 in the 1970s, and later, his 1946 Taylorcraft.
Born in 1928, Ray was one of our area’s many hardworking “flying farmers.” After serving in the Army in the Korean War, Ray learned to fly as an adult while continuing to farm, raise a family, and actively contribute to the community. Ray loved to tell stories of flying in the early days, true midwestern adventures with friends and fellow pilots and other community members.
Ray was a very active member of EAA Chapter 431 starting in the mid-1970s . Ray enjoyed the annual events held at the airport, and was a big part of making visitors feel welcome every year. Ray and long-time pal Rudy Kopp started the now-famous annual Pork Chop dinner tradition at Brodhead’s Fly-Ins. Originally it was just the two of them, cooking hundreds of meals in the hot summers. Decades later, the tradition is still going strong.
Ray never stopped loving our aviation community, and was a familiar face at every event for decades. In his honor, put a pork chop on the grill tonight! We’ll miss his cheerful attitude, friendly presence, never-tiring helpful hands, and the twinkle in his eye when he told stories of aviation. Our best wishes to his wonderful family in this time of loss. Blue skies, Ray!