We received word that Don McMakin passed away Tuesday night, April 17, 2012. at age 93. Services will be held Saturday April 21, 2012 at McCorkle Funeral Home, 767 N Blackhawk Blvd., Rockton, Illinois. A visitation will be held at the funeral home from 10:00 a.m. to noon. Think of a story or make a comment about Don, as this will be an audience participation service.
Don’s obituary is HERE.
Don is a long-time fixture at Brodhead Airport as well as the early history of aviation in the Wisconsin/Illinois state line area. Locals and visitors to the airport will remember Don’s 1929 Butler Blackhawk, the 10th built out of a total of eleven. Don bought the airplane in 1942 to build time in a 200+ hp airplane in order to be a civilian flight instructor during WWII. After the war, the airplane was sold, but many years later was re-acquired by Don and son Kent and fully restored to flying condition.
In later years, Don was commander of the airport’s garbage barge during fly-ins and work days. Anybody who has attended a recent fly-in at Brodhead Airport has heard the putt-putt of Don’s ubiquitous antique John Deere tractor pulling the trailer full of garbage cans and volunteer garbage chuckers.
Don remained active in antique restoration right to the end, working on several Wright J5 engines and other aircraft projects on a daily basis. His presence at the airport will be missed.