Obituary for Eugene "Gene" J. Schumacher
An Eagle Flies West
06/04/1937 - 08/24/2021
Captain Eugene "Gene" J. Schumacher (Retired USAir) Flew West as he joined the LORD on August 24, 2021. He passed peacefully at home and was cared for by his loving wife Maureen, in Columbus, Ohio. He was born in Springfield, Minnesota to John Charles and Elvera Marie (Schunk) Schumacher on June 4, 1937. Gene was an only child and worked the family farm with his parents. He attended both the one room school house through 8th grade, then one year at St. Raphael Catholic School and the last two at Springfield High School. He graduated from Springfield High in 1955 and was a member of the Future Farmers of America and was active in the agricultural field.
Gene always had an interest in Aviation and at 10 years old, while at the Brown County Fair, there was a pilot giving airplanes rides. His Father John and he took a ride in the Ercoupe. That was the spark and Gene was destined to be a lifelong aviator. He took flying lessons from his mentor Aurie Lowinske at the original grass strip airport in Springfield, MN, while continuing farming and eventually took a summer job at the canning plant for Del Monte. His desire for aviation never faltered, as he worked at the airport for flight time and on September 17, 1957 at 17 he completed his first Solo Flight in a Vagabond aircraft in Springfield. That same day he began an apprenticeship as an aircraft mechanic with Leo Beck, fellow aviator/mechanic. He eventually completed his academics and graduated from technical school with an AandP Mechanic Certificate and went on to achieve his Inspector Authorization as an Aircraft Mechanic. He continued his aviation training through his private, commercial, instrument, multiengine Flight Instructor; Airplane Single and Multi-engine Instrument Airplane certificates and eventually Airline Transport Pilot and Remote Pilot for Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (Drones). During his training he was guided by Aurie to become an agricultural pilot (crop duster). He worked on aircraft, flew everything he could get his hands on; worked various positions with Vercoa Air Service, Inc., Danville Illinois and Britt Airways.
On June 29, 1960 Gene responded to the call of duty for his nation and enlisted in the Army National Guard at Redwood Falls, Minnesota. He qualified as a Sharpshooter and an Expert in Field Artillery and received the Sharpshooter Badge w/bar Carbine and Expert Badge w/bar Field Artillery and his military occupational specialty was Asst. Gunner. He served for four (4) years and received his Honorable Discharge on June 28, 1964.
Gene continued his passion for flying and with over 6,000 flight hours, including Agricultural, Charter, and Instructor time, he accepted his first airline position as Co-pilot at Lake Central Airlines on the DC-3. Lake Central Airlines later merged with Allegheny and then that carrier merged with Mohawk, and in 1979 became USAir. Gene was qualified on several aircraft types; the DC-3, Nord 262, Convair 580, DC-9, Boeing - 727, Fokker 100, Boeing - 757/767. He held various positions as First Officer, Captain, IOE Captain, Chief Pilot USAir Boston Base and spent a great length of his aviation career flying out of the Greater Pittsburgh International Airport. He retired as an International Captain for USAir in 1992, at the age of 55.In the following six months he was recalled to service with USAir Flight Simulator Contract Training,located in Moon Township. While there, Gene trained pilots from around the world. He traveled to trainpilots in Finland and Ghana Africa. He was instrumental in assisting with the original Ghana Airlines Pilot
training both in the United States and also, the in aircraft training and testing, in the DC-9 in Ghana, Africa. In 1996 Gene became the owner of Stensin Aviation located at the Beaver County Airport in Chippewa, PA, which he subsequently changed the name to Pro Flight Center, Inc., and, provided flight training, charter, maintenance, and fuel services. His school provided training through all Flight Instructor Certification as well as Seaplane Ratings, Helicopter Ratings, Tailwheel and Aerobatic training. Students and pilots had the opportunity to complete a two or four year degree program through Beaver County Community College and through Utah Valley State College which is now Utah Valley University. The school was FAA approved 141, 135, 145 and 61. Gene was one of the rare aviators to have his FAA approval as a Training Center Evaluator (TCE part 142) for the DC-9 and the Boeing -727, utilizing USAir Simulators under dry lease. His 142 program provided both ground and simulator training and certification.
On March 14, 2008 Gene was the recipient of both the Master Pilot and Master Mechanic Awards for Recognition of Fifty Years of Dedicated Service in Aviation Safety from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). This provides a standing testament to his lifelong mindset of safety first and his loyalty to his chosen profession as an aviator. His name is listed for both achievements at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. There are scores of individuals who came through Pro Flight Center's door, whose own successful careers are a living testament of the quality of training that was provided by Gene's knowledge and generosity as a mentor, boss, pilot and friend. He met his wife Maureen in 1996 and they were together for the past 25 years. Dedicated to each other, aviation and family, their faith in God and love for America. He attended St. Matthew Catholic Parish in Gahanna, Ohio and was a member of the Knights of Columbus (3rd degree), he supported both the AOPA and EAA over the years and was a member of the USAirways Soaring Eagles.
Gene is preceded in passing by his parents; John and Elvera Schumacher.
Left to cherish his memory are his beloved wife and aviator Maureen Schumacher; his Loving Family; first wife Kathryn (Kay) Schumacher, mother of his three children of Arlington, MN; sons Randy (Rhonda) Schumacher of Glencoe, MN and Kevin (Karla) Schumacher of Prior Lake, MN; daughter Julie (Mike) Scharping of Arlington, MN; seven grandchildren; Cody, Logan, Seth, Brett, Alicia, Makinsey and Tate; four great-grandchildren; Crosby, Blakely, Braelynn and Miller; many cousins, nieces, nephews, friends and loving colleagues; mother- in Law Isabella Casasanta of Moon Township, PA; brother in law Donald Casasanta of Moon Township, PA and niece Hannah Casasanta of Moon Township,PA.
Gene's family will welcome guests at two events -
COLUMBUS: Visitation will take place on Sunday, August 29, from 1pm-5pm at SCHOEDINGER NORTHEAST, 1051 East Johnstown Road, Gahanna 43230, with a prayer service to follow at 5:30pm.
PENNSYLVANIA: Gene's family will also receive friends on Tuesday, August 31, 2021 from 3pm-7pm at R.D. Copeland Funeral Home, 981 Brodhead Rd, Moon Township, PA 15108. Gene's family will welcome friends on Wednesday, September 1, 2021 at 10am at Copeland Funeral Home to be followed by a 10:30 prayer service. Services will conclude with Interment and an Honor Guard at Resurrection Catholic Cemetery in Coraopolis, PA, 100 Resurrection Rd, Coraopolis, PA 15108, immediately after the prayer service.
Gene's family would like to ask that any pilot in attendance come in uniform.
The Schumacher family would like to extend grateful thanks to Gene's visiting physicians, his private visit nurses, and Grace Hospice for all of the kindness and care.
Flowers are welcome however, In lieu of flowers, please make donations in Gene's memory to…
Wounded Warriors Project in Memory of Gene - https://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/donate
St. Jude Childrens Hospital in Memory of Gene - www.stjude.org .
A webcast of the Committal service and Honor Guard will be available through Zoom at this link shortly before the Committal begins around 11:15am on September 1:
(Meeting ID: 862 8115 7737 // Passcode: 729638)
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