Gerald Francis Thuotte was born in Brockton, Massachusetts to Henry L. Thuotte and Katherine J. Kane. He passed away peacefully at St. Michael Medical center after a battle with Alzheimer’s disease.
Always an excellent student, Jerry dropped out of college after one semester due to a lack of money. He enlisted in the Army and spent most of his active duty in Germany teaching instrument flying to pilots instructing them in the Link Trainer.
After his discharge, he went to work for the Federal Aviation Administration as an air traffic controller in Salt Lake, Utah and eventually the tower at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. In 1965 he was hired as a United Airlines pilot. He flew for United for 32 years. His career began on the DC-7 and ended when he was captain on the Boeing 757/767. His true aviation love was the Boeing 727.
In his spare time, he was a guide on Mount Rainier. He started building and flying “home built” aircraft, building several Steen Skybolts. Eventually he transitioned to antique/classic aircraft. He encouraged the local neighborhood youth to get involved in aviation. He welcomed them into his hangar, taught them to fly and instilled in them the enthusiasm to restore aircraft. Several of the airplanes he rebuilt won awards, the most well-known was a 1930 Stinson “Detroiter” (Portland Airways) which won Grand Champion at Watsonville, California in 1984. After early retirement from United in 1997 he moved to Port Ludlow, Washington. In 2001 he and his wife, Peggy, founded the Port Townsend Aero Museum, a nonprofit youth mentorship program.
Jerry is survived by his wife, Peggy; his children Michael and Allison; his sister Janie Denn; and brothers, James and Bill Hosel. In lieu of flowers, make donations to the Port Townsend Aero Museum, 105 Airport Road, Port Townsend, WA 98368 or Alzheimer’s Association, 225 N Michigan Ave. FL. 17, Chicago, IL 60601.