Donald W. McKibben

Don McKibben"Second to None"
TOPSHAM - Donald Weldon McKibben, “Mac” to his flying buddies, passed away on April 9, 2015 with his son Frank at his side. He was 93. Like the motto of the 352nd Fighter Group he flew with during WWII, he was “Second to None”.
He grew up a child of the Depression in Hornell, NY; where he met his future wife Nita; where he made his first solo flight in a Piper J-3 Cub; and where he developed his lifelong love of jazz music.
Don dreamed of becoming a journalist, and carried with him a portable typewriter as he trained to become a fighter pilot, taking it with him later when he shipped out to England.  His prize possession made him very popular among the other pilots in his squadron, who borrowed it to write letters home.  His wingman, Ted Farhenwald’s letters were recently published in “Wot a Way to Run a War”; you should read it.
Don flew the mighty Republic P-47 ‘Thunderbolt’ and the “Cadillac of the Sky’, the North American P-51 ‘Mustang’ defending the bombers that persecuted the air war over Europe.

Then, like most of his generation, he left the war behind, married his sweetheart Nita, began a career with Eastman Kodak, and started a family in the small town of Webster, NY.  He and Nita raised three boys, instilling in them their love of the outdoors; camping, fishing, and canoeing.

When he retired, he and Nita built their dream house on Green Pond, near Saranac Lake, NY, where he was active in the community and pursued his many hobbies: golfing, fishing, fly tying and boating.

After they had moved to Yarmouth, Maine to be closer to family, his wife of 56 years, Nita passed away in 2000. 

Don then decided to reconnect with his love of aviation, and looked up the local chapter of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), then located at Merrymeeting Field, a grass strip in Bowdoinham, Maine; not too different a place from where he had begun flying, sixty years earlier.

Ever the journalist, Don volunteered to write the chapter newsletter, except this time he used a computer.  The pilots and their families became his second family including him in their activities and most importantly, taking him flying.  He reconnected with the veterans of the 352nd Fighter Group and attended many of their reunions. He traveled, checking off many of his Bucket List items, like the Red Bull Air Races, the EAA annual fly in at Oshkosh, WI, and the Gathering of Mustangs.

He remained interested and involved with the world around him, expanded his collection of Jazz music, was a dedicated sports fan (especially the Red Sox and Pats), and was devoted to his special martini “The Silver Bullet”.

Don will be missed by his family, sons: Frank (Ellen), Ted (Holly) and Scott (Martha) and his grandchildren: Mary, Michael, Cody and Wyatt , all his extended family, and the many friends left behind.

A memorial service is planned for Father’s Day June 21st. Details to follow.