Donn Cox Kerby passed away peacefully into the arms of our Lord and Savior on April 14, 2021. Donn was born June 20, 1939 in Little Rock, Arkansas. He was preceded in death by his parents, Pat and Rita Kerby of Little Rock, Arkansas. He leaves behind his sister, Carol Kerby Loeb, of Corpus Christi, TX, his nephew, Keith Loeb and wife Ashley, and their children, Henry and Hadley of Dallas, TX, and many cousins he cherished in Arkansas, Penn, and Texas.
Donn grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas and graduated from the University Arkansas where he excelled on the University golf team and was a member of Signa Alpha Epsilon Fraternity. He proudly served our country in the Air Force where he developed his love of flying which lasted a lifetime.
After graduation from college, Donn worked for Dixie Equipment Co. in Little Rock in the restaurant supply business.
Because Donn loved flying so much, he changed his vocation where he could fulfill his passion for being in the air. He worked first as a crop duster and then spent many years with Globe Aero in Lakeland, Fl flying small aircraft to their destinations around the world. He made more than 299 trips before there was GPS for aircraft. His tools were a compass, a clock and the weather forecast. One air traffic controller said, “he did what Lindberg did with no GPS, but he did it 99 times across the water.” Seats were taken out of the planes he flew and replaced with drums of gasoline, which when empty, he would just switch from one to the other in the air. This was to get him from island to island when he flew long distances over the oceans.
Donn became so proficient in all areas of flying the North Atlantic, that he wrote a 400-page North Atlantic Training Manual for many of his pilot friends to help them in their craft. It was filled with maps, routes to take in different kinds of weather, how to get visas, who the best contacts in foreign countries were etc. He once flew to Pago Pago, a 21 and 1/2 hr. flight with 22 hrs worth of gasoline and hit the island dead on. Among his feats was the time he was leading another plane across the north Atlantic. The other plane lost an engine and had to ditch in the north seas. Donn talked the pilot down guiding him how to land in the swells as he radioed for help. Donn circled the downed man until rescue from the Europe could get to him, barely saving enough gas for himself.
Although Donn eventually retired from taking planes up, he continued to do briefings for pilots, advising them on everything they would need to go from country to country until the day he died. He was much sought after for his extensive knowledge of contract flying. Another pilot friend said, “He was the most influential pilot I know.”
Also, after his flying retirement, he took up his other love full time, golf. Donn worked every day to finding the secret to Ben Hogan’s swing. He eventually got to where he loved hitting balls on the practice tees more than playing the course. For years, he hit 500 balls a day on the practice tees and would help fellow golfers with their swings. Known for having a beautiful swing, he had many secrets of the swing locked in his head.
Donn was an immensely respected pilot and a very loved friend. He was a man that never met a stranger. He will be missed by many. A family and friends celebration of life will be held at a later date.
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