Ernie Stadvec, 95, passed away April 6, 2021. He was born June 13, 1925 to the late Albert and Rose Stadvec in Sharon Center, Ohio.
Known as “Captain Ernie” to most of Akron and the aviation world, his passion for flying began as a young boy. At the age of 17, he enlisted in the Army Air Corp during WWII by doctoring his age to 18. He was stationed on Tinian Island and flew with the 505th bomb group. Upon his return home to Akron, he continued his love for aviation by founding Shawnee Airways in 1950, a charter service at Akron/Canton Airport, with his wife Elizabeth. In the 1960's, they started Essco Aircraft which reproduced aircraft manuals. It is still a family business today and their legacy lives on. Captain Ernie was a gifted aviator and an innovator in the industry. He was always willing to help young pilots build their hours if they were willing to put in the work. In the early 1960’s, he created a kid’s TV show called “Captain Ernie’s Flying Club”.
Captain Ernie was a prolific storyteller and could hold an audience for hours. In the late 1970’s, he put pen to paper and discovered he was a good writer. He loved a perfect sentence, short and to the point, painting a picture with his words for the next 40 years. His passion led him to publish 15 aviation publications, countless short stories, articles for national magazines and newspapers including the Akron Beacon Journal and Readers Digest. He also published a children's book "Schnootzi The Littlest Hero".
Ernie’s work ethic was legendary, whether catching for his brother Bob, running around opposing defenses in football or winning the Ohio Golden Master’s racquetball championship in his late 50’s with 2 bad knees, he was a fierce competitor. If a coach gave him 10 sprints, he would do 20, that is how he approached everything he did. His philosophy was “work harder, study more, learn from setbacks and let the wins motivate you to be better”.
Some of Ernie’s proudest moments in life include being inducted to the University of Akron’s Sports Hall of Fame, member of the East Central Pilots Association, creator of The Ernie Stadvec Show - on cable, internet and YouTube http://erniestv.com/, his 18 years of active and reserve service; Army Air Corps SGT WWII and United States Air Force 1st Lt Korean War, owner/operator of Stadvec Aviation, Shawnee Airways and Essco Aircraft. He was a contract pilot for both the US government, British government, and Air Monserrat in the Caribbean Leeward Islands. Ernie’s proudest accomplishment came in 2020 when he earned The Wright Brother’s “Master Pilot Award” for over 50 years of safe flying, the highest award in aviation given by the FAA.
He will be remembered by his children and grandchildren for his playful sense of humor, curiosity, discipline and generosity. Ernie just might have been the originator of the bad “Dad Jokes”. He loved being around his family who was lucky enough to have him just shy of 96 years.
Besides his parents, Ernest was preceded in death by his wife Elizabeth; brother, Bob and sister, Betty Casner. He is survived by his sons, George, Daniel (Norma), Steven and Michael (Franca) Stadvec; daughter, Marjorie Stadvec; grandchildren, Aimee, Adam, Alyssa, Jordan, Morgan, Emily, Arabella, Lucas; and great grandchildren, Nathan, Dawson, Jameson and Lorelai.
Captain Ernie, fly low and slow, you will be missed. Here’s to blue skies and smooth air.
A private family interment will take place at Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery. A celebration of life will be held at a later date. Please help the Stadvec family honor and celebrate Ernie’s life by sharing a message or memory on our website at www.schermesserfh.com.
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