Funeral Services for Delbert F. Erhart, 95, Linwood, KS will be at 11 a.m. on Friday, April 8, 2011 at the Grace Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Lawrence, KS. Burial will follow in the Oak Hill Cemetery in Lawrence. He died on Sunday, April 3, 2011 at the home of his daughter and son-in-law in rural Linwood, KS.
Delbert was born March 21, 1916 in Ness City, KS, the son of Andrew James Erhart and Lillie Maggie Conard Erhart.
His passion and career was aviation. He graduated from the Spartan School of Aeronautics A-E course with a two year Aero Engineering equivalent in 1941. He became the fixed base operator (FBO) and airport manager with shop facilities in Larned, Ks in 1945.
Delbert and his family moved to Lawrence, KS in 1951. He and his wife owned and operated Erhart Flying Service and Erhart Spraying Service as the full service fixed base operator (FBO) of the Lawrence Airport with complete maintenance and rebuilding facilities.
He held Inspection Authorization since its inception. He had his Commercial Pilot license with single and multi-engine land rating with Flight Instructor, Instrument and Instrument Instructor rating, and was a Private and Commercial pilot examiner.
During the 1951 flood in Lawrence, he flew airplanes off of 23rd street and US Highway 24, helping flood victims. He wasthe FBO in Lawrenceuntil 1971. During this time, he also managed the airports in St. Joseph, MO and Olathe, KS. On the 80th Anniversary of the Lawrence Municipal Airport he was recognized for his 20 years of leadership as Airport Manager and FBO. In 1973, he had to take medical retirement due to myocardial infarction. By the time he retired, he had logged over 10,000 hours flying.
Delbert married June Evangeline Ruehlen on September 8, 1940 in Valley Center, KS. After his retirement, they traveled the southern United States in their RV, enjoying walking the beaches of North Carolina and visiting bird sanctuaries in the southwest. Eventually (In 1980) they moved to Beaver Lake, AR. In 2000, they returned to Lawrence to be closer to family. She preceded him in death April 22, 2008. Also preceding him in death were his nine brothers and sisters.
Survivors include two daughters; Sue Pine and her husband, Roger, of Linwood, KS, Cindy Pratt and her husband, Wayne, of Scottsdale, AZ, a son, Jon Erhart and his wife, Debbie, of Dodge City, KS; six grandchildren; Shawn Pine (husband, Chris) Bay and Brian (wife, Kathy) Pine, of Lawrence, KS, Derek (wife, Robin) Pratt, of Seattle, WA, Katy Pratt (husband, David) Flosi, of Albuquerque, NM, Chelsea Erhart (husband, Phil) Moore, of Dodge City, KS, and Lindsay Erhart, of Lawrence, KS; and twelve great grandchildren. Delbert enjoyed working in the garden, woodworking, fishing, putting up sweet corn, and making Christmas candy. Thirty-two family members helped him celebrate his 95th birthday in style the weekend of March 12-13, 2011.
The family will receive friends from 6-7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 7, 2011 at Warren-McElwain Mortuary.
The family suggests memorials in his name to the Grace Evangelical Presbyterian Church or the LMH Endowment Association for the Cardiac Rehabilitation Program and may be sent in care of the mortuary.