A native of Alliance, OH, Wil entered the Navy after a short college coaching career. He served 20 years as a Surface Line Officer, including 7 ship’s company tours and one afloat staff tour. Following his command tour, he retired as an O-5. Wil then embarked on a 20 year Financial Services career during which he built his own company and worked extensively with small businesses and venture capital companies. A college history major, Wil has always maintained his interest and enthusiasm for history. The PBY Memorial Foundation provides him a means to convert a “pastime” into a productive pursuit that makes a contribution to preserving our nation’s Naval Heritage.
Born and raised in the Chicago area, Jim completed a Bachelor’s Degree at Northwestern University. After a six-year tour with the U.S. Marine Corps, he returned to Northwestern to do post-graduate work in Psychology. Upon recommendation from Northwestern, a 3M Company recruiter hired him and a move to company headquarters in St. Paul followed. His 18-year career with 3M included many trips to the Pacific Northwest. The attraction of this area was too great to ignore and a move to Washington followed. Since 1980, Jim has been the promotions director for Bellevue Square mall, a Financial Planner for American Express, an assistant manager of a bus company serving three communities in the suburban Seattle area and most pleasantly retired. He and his wife, Cori, divide their time among the Whidbey Playhouse, Whidbey Presbyterian Church, and the PBY Memorial Foundation.
Onee was raised in Seattle, Washington, and is a University of Washington graduate with degrees in Sociology and Education. She taught for thirty-six years in multi-cultural/multi-lingual schools, with her last years in an aviation program where grade school children were taught to fly. Wife of a Naval Officer, Onee has lived on Whidbey Island for over forty years. She has had a lifelong interest in history, has been a member of the PBY Memorial Foundation since its early years, and has been PBYMF Corporation secretary since 2007.
John is from Ironwood, Michigan and was commissioned through the NROTC program at the University of Idaho with a BS in Mathematics. He was designated a Naval Flight Officer and flew as a Bombardier/Navigator in the A-6 Intruder with VA-85 based at NAS Oceana, VA and flew off the USS Forrestal during two Mediterranean cruises. Later tours included an Instructor of Naval Science at UCLA where he obtained an MBA Degree in Finance and Investments and a follow-on tour as Hanger Deck Officer aboard the USS Ranger. He continued his Naval Reserve Service at NAS Whidbey Island flying as a P-3 Navigator and completed 26 years of active an reserve service. He was an Associate Professor at Embry-Riddle University and for Chapman University teaching finance, mathematics, statistics as well as various aviation courses. He has owned two airplanes and was a commercial flight instructor. He has been a resident of Oak Harbor since 1976 and is a local business owner.
Chair, Board of Trustees
A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Richard joined the Navy after graduating from high school in 1949. During a 33-year navy career, he made numerous deployments with naval aviation units and served in a variety of instructor billets teaching aviation electronics. Selected for the Warrant Officer Program in 1967, Richard retired as a W-4 Warrant Officer in 1982 here on Whidbey Island. After retirement, he taught word processing at the Skagit Valley College, Oak Harbor campus and worked for the USPS as a rural carrier. Richard originally joined the PBYMF in 2004 because of a love of aircraft and history. Richard has been Chairman of the Board since 2007.
Vice Chair, Board of Trustees
A Michigan native, Ron moved to Garden Grove, CA before enlisting in the Navy in 1961. Ultimately he was attached to Patrol Squadron 47 (VP-47), the last seaplane Patrol Squadron at NAS Whidbey Island, WA. Following Vietnam service, Ron left the Navy, married Ruth and moved to Whidbey Island where they opened a Christian Serviceman’s Center in their home. Simultaneously, Ron entered the Federal Fire Service. A 40-year firefighting career followed in which he served both NAS Whidbey Island and the City of Oak Harbor as a Fire Captain and Fire Marshall. His career highlight was being chosen as the 1999 Washington State Firefighter of the Year. Active in community affairs all of his life, Ron is currently working to help Oak Harbor establish a Citywide trail system of up to 5 miles in length highlighted by a waterfront section designated the “Walk of Honor”. This waterfront trail segment is intended as a “Thank you for our gift of freedom” from the community of Oak Harbor, representing all small “Home Towns” of America, and a visible tribute to those who have served our nation from the shores of Whidbey Island and to their families.
Through his work with the international military Christian fellowship group called The Navigators, Ron has developed a deep sense of responsibility for protecting and preserving the often blood-stained heritage of the veterans he has worked with through the years. He sees the PBY Memorial Foundation and the Naval Heritage Center as vehicles for preserving and conveying their stories, enlisting support for America’s founding core values, and supporting our current service personnel and their families.