Emitt LeRoy Soldin
Former Skagway resident and reknowned Alaska aviator Emitt L. Soldin died Nov. 11 at the Providence Extended Care Facility in Anchorage after a lengthy illness. He was 78.
A memorial service will be held on Nov. 23 from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum in Anchorage.
Soldin was born in Skagway Oct. 14, 1924 to pioneer residents Hans and Mavis Soldin. He attended and graduated from Skagway High School in May of 1942. He also attended the University of Washington in 1942-43. In 1943-44 he worked for Ellis Airlines as a mechanic helper on single engine seaplanes in Ketchikan until he was called to duty in the U.S. Army Air Force. Soldin served as an Airframe and Power mechanic in Merced, CA. for the 482nd Army Air Forces until when Soldin was honorably discharged.
In 1947-48 Soldin worked for Aero Repair Aircraft in Chico Ca. where he supervised aircraft maintenance and overhaul mechanics. 1949-52 he was a pilot and A&P mechanic for Alaska Coastal Airlines in Juneau, where he maintained floatplanes, conducted charter flights and instructed students in seaplane flight programs. 1953-1960 Soldin worked as a pilot mechanic for the U.S.D.I. (Department of Fish and Wildlife Service) in Juneau where he flew a Grumman Goose on stream surveys, enforcement patrols, freight and equipment hauling, transportation of personnel and search missions.
In 1960-62 Soldin flew for the Bureau of Land Management piloting float, wheel and amphibious aircraft hauling crews for firefighting efforts. He also specialized in piloting and maintaining the Grumman Goose aircraft use. In 1962-64 Soldin worked for Shaw Flight Service where he flew and maintained flight operations for an oilfield contract at King Salmon.
After the family lost their home in the 1964 earthquake, Soldin worked for Sky Van Airways, of Seattle Washington in 1965 as a co-pilot in a C-46 making flights to Alaska and Canada.
He returned to Alaska in June of 1965 where he worked for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game where he flew transplanted wildlife in rural areas.
Soldin later went to work for the Federal Aviation Administration as a flight inspection pilot. He later became an airspace flight inspection pilot using DC-3, C-123 aircraft, and retired from the FAA 1978.
Soldin later volunteered as a search pilot and coordinator for the Civil Air Patrol until 1991.
Soldin was a member of Igloo 15 Pioneers of Alaska, Historian member OX5 Aviation Pioneers, the Alaska Airmens Association, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association
Soldin is survived by his three children; Lori Mitchell and Kenneth Soldin of Anchorage, and Rick Soldin of Kingsport, Tenn; sisters Irene Henricksen and Inez Knorr of Skagway, and Tooky Harlow of Gig Harbor, Wash.; seven grandchildren and five great grandchildren.
The family stated: Emitt was a pioneer aviator in Alaska who befriended anyone with an interest in flying or aircraft. As a family we grew up examining Alaska from the air, learning every cove, river, lake and stream from an airplane. It was not uncommon on flights to look for game, follow birds or even examine the clouds.
Our home was always open to new and old friends who would fly in from far away places, always welcomed by Emitt, whose list of friends and experiences offered us a rich and full life.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers donations be sent to the Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum, 4721 Aircraft Drive, Anchorage Alaska, 99502.