John Conrad Aikens


Robert ValentineJohn Conrad Aikens
Resident of Redwood City
December 9, 1919 - March 22, 2012
John passed away peacefully in his sleep at his home in Redwood City, California, on March 22, 2012 at the age of 92. He is survived by his cherished wife of 63 years, Edna, daughter Denise, and sons Mark and Curt and their families.

A devoted husband and father, John had a wonderful life filled with a loving family and lifelong good friends, which always came first in his heart. Born in Oak Park, Illinois, John received his BS in Mechanical Engineering in 1943 from Chicago's Illinois Institute of Technology, Armour College of Engineering. As part of IIT's Cooperative Course he also became a skilled machinist.

was hired as a flight engineer by Pan American World Airways in 1943, training at Pan Am's Treasure Island base in San Francisco. During this time he was inducted into the U.S. Navy Reserve and stationed at Pearl Harbor. From there he flew sea planes operated by Pan Am for NATS, the Naval Air Transport System, down the chain of islands to Australia.

After transferring back to San Francisco, John spent the duration of the war flying military personnel and supplies to various bases on the South Pacific islands.

John earned the rank of Lieutenant JG in the Navy Reserve, flying for the US Air Force as part of Pan Am's Air Transport Command Group. John flew for Pan Am for 40 years on aircraft including the DC-6, B-377 Stratocruiser, DC-7, 707 and 747. He met his beloved wife Edna Lenhart, a Pan Am flight attendant on the Alaska route, when he was assigned to Seattle in 1947. They transferred to New York and then back to San Francisco in 1953, where he spent his remaining years with Pan Am, flying the world in a job he dearly loved. While with Pan Am, he also was a Check Engineer, flight instructor, and Assistant Chief Flight Engineer.

In his free time John enjoyed spending many years in Toastmasters, where he also served as president. His passion for flying extended to his personal life, he was both a private commercial and glider pilot. John treasured his times fishingand taking the entire family and friends camping in the Yosemite high country every summer, sailing his boat on Lake Teneya and getting his "batteries recharged".

A true gentleman and loyal friend, he would do anything for his family. John once remarked that he felt he "had the world by the tail"; he loved life and lived boldly and with an open heart. His adventurous and caring spirit will be missed by all.

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