My dear wife of 43 years, Linda Austin, suddenly was taken from me Tuesday, June 3rd.  She was my best friend, companion, and co-pilot. Our sons, Hugh and Patrick, and I will miss her greatly. She had an incurable, debilitating and progressive neurological disease, but did not die from that. Her passing was near-instantaneous and she did not have any pain or suffering. God was merciful.

Some might question why I would post this here, but read further:  Linda had flown with me in that right seat for most of my 2700 hrs,  in good weather and bad, and never complained or was alarmed. In challenging conditions, she'd simply look at me, lay her hand on my arm, and say, "Is it going to be all right?"  She knew I would not lie, I'd always tell her what was going-on and what to expect. Typically, I'd summarize: "Linda, it'll be all right."

Linda also occupied that right seat for the majority of the 235 hrs we had accumulated on the STOL CH750. This "low and slow" flight was a new experience for her, and she immediately loved cruising our beautiful Sequatchie Valley in East Tenneesse. She loved being able to actually look down and study the ever-changing beauty of the farms, forests, ridges, and lakes. Her neurologic disease, Frontotemporal Degeneration, was beginning to slow down her mobility as it was affecting her walking, but she had no problems in the 750's comfortable cabin. Once airborne, I could see all the tension lift and she would almost melt into the seat and relax.

Because of her love of flight and the sense of freedom it provided, especially in the 750, she would beg me to take her up at every possible opportunity. For me, think what a lovely problem that was! Monday afternoon, June 2nd, we flew the Valley. Once we had settled-down into a low and slow cruise, I looked over at her - she looked at me, smiled, and said, "I just love this!" The next day she suddenly collapsed and passed right in my arms - likely a massive embolus or coronary - but she felt no pain and did not suffer.

So, the toils and troubles of building that airplane seem pretty minor right now, the reward for Linda and me was priceless.

Linda, it'll be all right.



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My condolences John, although I never had the pleasure to meet your wife it sounds like she was a wonderful person.  I don't have any words to ease your pain just know that you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.  

John, the Zenith builders/ flyers community is one large family. Your loss is our loss as well. May you find peace knowing that each of us share in your sorrow.

Blue Skies

My condolences.
Thanks for sharing your story.

God is merciful.  Our prayers are with you and your family.

My condolences. God is indeed very merciful! Prayers for you and your family.

I am so sorry! I know she will always be your copilot!

There is not much to say but there is everything to say. So sorry. So glad you shared the joy of flight with the love of your life. I expect you will find comfort in flying again and again. When life is not feeling "right" I go flying -- one needs to focus on the act of flight so intently that the other things, for a while, fade back to the corners of my being and I can just be me and the plane and the sky. May you find comfort whenever and wherever you are able.

If you decide on a walkabout (flyabout?), drop in to New Hampshire. Lovely country and we have a nice guest room. We live in an airpark with a 4,000 foot grass strip and some spectacular territory to fly in and enjoy. You are welcome here. Good luck as you and your family enter a new chapter in your lives. Our sympathies, our hopes and our best wishes are with you.

Bob and Pat

Windsock Village Airpark, NH

Very Sorry to hear of your loss John. I really appreciate you sharing such a beautiful story with us all as well.


Bob Wood

Our condolences to you and your's as well John.  I too have a wife that loves to fly.  


My prayers are with you and your family. We all need to be thankful for the time we have with our loved ones. Sounds like you had a great best friend and wife.


So very, very sorry to hear this, John. I can only imagine the sense of loss. Sincere condolences.

Dear John

My condolences to you and to your family. Be sure that, she is still and will always be flying in a better places than we do are walking on and flying.

Be Good.

Waldo CH750 Cherry Red from Brazil


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