WAYNE EDWARD KINDER
July 14,1937 – April 1, 2019
Wayne E. Kinder, 81, passed away in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, on April 1, 2019. He was born in Malden, Missouri, on July 14, 1937, to Orion Wesley and Helen (Corn) Kinder. In 1963, Wayne married Karen Ann (Kane). They were fortunate to spend 34 years together before her passing in 1997.
Wayne graduated from Bernie High School in Bernie, Missouri in 1955. On June 15,1955, at the age of 17, he enlisted in the United States Air Force as an air traffic controller. He had dreamed of flying since boyhood and saw this as a step towards his plan of becoming a pilot. This chance to realize his dream came when he graduated from the USAF Aviation Cadet Program on April 29, 1960, earning his pilot wings and commission as a 2nd lieutenant in the Air Force. During his initial assignment at Peas AFB in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, he met and fell in love with Karen Anne Kane. They were married on April 27, 1963. In 1965, Wayne volunteered to go to Vietnam as a Forward Air Controller (FAC). For his heroism and bravery during this 14-month tour, he was awarded the Bronze Star, the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal. After returning home, Wayne earned a B.A. in International Relations from Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY.
Major Wayne E. Kinder retired from the Air Force on December 1, 1975. After retirement, he and Karen chose to reside in Aurora, Colorado. In 1979, he began his second career, flying commercially for Aspen Airways/Air Wisconsin. He flew for 18 years, until reaching the mandatory retirement age of 60. He never wanted to give up flying, so he went to work as a tow pilot in the U.S. Air Force Academy’s Cadet Glider Training Program -- until an unfortunate car accident ended his flying career on January 5, 2005.
When not flying, Wayne enjoyed hiking and skiing in the beautiful Rocky Mountains. He was also a proud member of various organizations including the Quiet Birdmen (DEN & COS Hangars), Order of Daedalians (Mile High Flight 18 & Falcon Flight 11), the Air Force Association and the Air Line Pilots Association.
Wayne is survived by his daughter Suzanne (Chris); four granddaughters: India Orman, Hannah Carroll-Kinder and Meadow Kinder, all from Minneapolis, MN; and Ryals Kinder Adams, Red Oak, North Carolina; his Brother Dale Kinder (Carol), and sisters Jonelle Irvin, Jane Mathews (Jim). He was preceded in death by his father, mother, wife Karen Kinder, and son Jon J. Kinder.
The family would like to thank Ms. Mary Coleman, who was an integral part of the fabric that kept Wayne comfortable at home until his very last hours on earth. Also, a special thank you to family and friends in North Carolina and Colorado who provided friendship and support during Wayne’s many health issues.
A memorial service will be scheduled in Colorado Springs, Colorado, at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory can be made to the Wounded Warrior Project at: woundedwarriorproject.org.
Wayne will be deeply missed by all who loved him. He will be remembered for his love of country and family. Most of all he will be remembered for his love of flying and his incredible internal strength to never give up. Tough as nails in life, and a true professional in the cockpit. Godspeed Hound Dog 44.
And this from Wayne's pilot fraternity brothers: The physical and emotional challenges Wayne faced in the last few years of his life were almost unimaginable. Yet, through it all, we know he was heartened and comforted greatly by the knowledge that his incredible, loving daughter Suzanne was there for him every day. So, in spirit, was his dear friend Bob White, who, ironically, died only four days before Wayne. From all of us, thank you, Suzanne. Thank you, Bob. For Wayne, blue skies and tailwinds.