|Birth: ||Oct. 18, 1918|
|Death: ||Sep. 16, 2008|
Arthur Eugene "Gene" Abney, 89, of Springfield, died at 12:27 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept., 16, 2008 at St. Josephs Home in Springfield.
He was born Oct. 18, 1918 near Harco, the son of George and Ada Hamilton Abney.
He attended Vineyard School, the country school near Harco, graduated from Harrisburg High School in Harrisburg in 1938 and Southern Illinois Normal University, Carbondale, in 1946. In 1951, he graduated from Lincoln College of Law, Springfield, with his law degree.
At Southern, he was a member of Kappa Delta Alpha and initiated the "Flying Egyptians" student organization, flying out of the Marion Airport, and then with the 35 members joined the U. S. Navy as a group, serving in the Pacific Theater in World War II. He was assigned to Corpus Christi, Texas, and was preparing to go back into the Pacific area when he met and married Helen Fetzer, originally of Pleasant Plains, on Nov. 9, 1945. After 63 years of marriage, she died in July 2008.
Mr. Abney is survived by his two sons, William Wayne (Leslie) Abney, Makanda, and Robert Hamilton (Demetra) Abney of Woodstock; and three grandsons, Jonathan Abney, Benjamin Abney and Drew Abney.
He was preceded in death by his wife and his parents.
He was a member of St. John's Lutheran Church, Springfield.
During his business career he was, for a short time, an air-traffic controller with the Civil Aeronautics Administration in Cleveland, Ohio. While studying at Lincoln College of Law, Springfield, he worked for the Illinois Bonus Board. Following that he worked with the Illinois Department of Aeronautics and was appointed assistant director and then director by Gov. Adlai Stevenson. Later he was reappointed by Gov. Edward Stratton. As director, he pioneered and introduced many innovative aviation programs as Illinois entered the post-war years.
He was president of the National Association of State Aviation Officials in 1957. He was associated with American Airlines from 1962 until 1982 until he retired and taught aviation law at Southern Illinois University, living then in Carterville.
He was a member of the Illinois Bar Association and active in many community, business, and charitable activities. He was inducted into the Illinois Aviation Hall of Fame in 1990 and named the 2001 Southern Illinois University "Distinguished Alumnus." He served on the Illinois Kidney Disease Advisory Board until 2004. As a salute to Orville and Wilbur Wright he wrote the book, "Wings Over Illinois," published in 2007 by Southern Illinois University Press.
Visitation will be held 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 19, 2008, at Staab Funeral Home, 1109 S. 5th St., Springfield. A funeral service will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 19, 2008, at Staab Funeral Home with Pastor Paul Olson officiating. Interment will be held in Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield with military honors conducted by the Sangamon County Interveterans Burial Detail.
The family has requested memorial donations be made to his grandson Jonathan's group home: Milestone Inc., 4060 McFarland Road, Loves Park, Ill. 61111, Attn: Arles.
Eugene Abney, an aviation pioneer and author with roots in Harco, died Tuesday in Springfield. He was 89.
Abney attended Vineyard School near Harco and Harrisburg High School. After graduation, he went to SIU-Carbondale and was founder of the Flying Egyptians student aviation organization.
At the outbreak of World War II, the 35 members of the Flying Egyptians joined the U.S. Navy as a group, serving in the Pacific Theater.
Although he studied law after World War II, Abney stayed with aviation during the formative period of the state's involvement in aeronautics. He worked for the Illinois Department of Aeronautics and rose to assistant director, then director under then-Gov. Adlai Stevenson. He was reappointed director by Gov. Edward Stratton. As director he pioneered and introduced many innovative aviation programs. Abney was also president of the National Association of State Aviation Officials in 1957.
He worked with American Airlines from 1962 until 1982, when he retired and taught aviation law at SIU.
He was named to the Illinois Aviation Hall of Fame in 1990 and in 2001 won the SIU distinguished alumni award.
Abney's book, "Wings Over Illinois," was published in 2007 by the Southern Illinois University Press.
George Abney (1892 - 1950)
Ada Hamilton Abney (1892 - 1974)
Helen Fredericka Fetzer Abney (1915 - 2008)*
Thomas Edward Abney (1947 - 1947)*
Oak Ridge Cemetery
Plot: Block 49
Created by: Patricia Leonberger Hoop...
Record added: Sep 17, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 29865486