Connie Rex Younger, 77, passed away on Monday, Aug. 1, 2016, at his home in rural Madrid, surrounded by family and close friends.
Connie was born July 18, 1939, on the family farm southwest of Elmo, Mo., to Rex and Margaret (Henn) Younger and graduated from Maryville High School in 1957. He served in the U.S. Navy for four years as a naval musician with Unit Band 182 based at Yokosuka, Japan, and at the Charleston Naval Base. Following his service, Connie graduated from Northwest Missouri State College in 1965 with a degree in music education.
In May 1963, he married Linda Sue Owens, daughter of Paul and Marie Owens, of rural Hopkins, Mo. They had two children: son, Keith, and daughter, Susan.
Connie was a lifelong educator with a love for aviation, music and carpentry. His career began as music director at the Nodaway-Holt School District in Maitland and Graham, Mo. He played saxophone in a dance band, performing frequently at the 169 Club in Grant City. He also helped his dad build homes in the Maryville area and became a full-time carpenter after leaving music education in 1968.
After earning a master’s degree in aerospace education from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, he taught glider flying and pilot training at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign from 1971-75. In 1976, he began his 21-year career at Iowa State University serving as chief flight instructor and a transportation pilot. He logged thousands of hours in the Aero Commander and King Air 200, transporting sports teams and coaches, professors and state officials.
In 1990, Connie launched CY Aviation, managing the Boone Municipal Airport in Boone. Upon retirement from Iowa State in 1997, Connie devoted his full time efforts to making it “The Friendliest Little Airport In Iowa.” He continued to instruct flight students of all levels there, as well as serve as an FAA designated pilot examiner. Connie taught seaplane flying on the Mississippi and Rock Rivers in the Quad Cities area as well as on Saylorville Reservoir. He flew aerobatics in his Citabria and enjoyed flying his 1946 Aeronca Champ on skis. One of Connie’s greatest aviation highlights was flying for nine summers in Denali National Park, Alaska, providing sightseeing tours around Denali (formerly Mt. McKinley) for both Kantisha Air Taxi and Denali Air. He proudly and humbly logged over 20,000 accident-free pilot hours during the course of his aviation career and taught hundreds of students to fly.
Connie continued his love of music as a member of the Boone Municipal Band for 35 years as lead alto saxophonist, as well as managing his recently-formed 17-piece Boone Big Band. He also kept up his carpentry and woodworking skills, including building his own home on a timbered acreage which he shared with his wife of 22 years, Lisa, and their assortment of rescued pets.
Connie is survived by his wife, Lisa Kuehl; former wife, Linda Younger, of Boone; son, Keith Younger, of Jay, New York/Boone; and daughter and son-in-law, Susan and James Gauvin, of Oakland, Calif.
He was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Charles Younger; and sister, Wanda Stoddard.
A celebration of his life will be at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 24, at Boone Municipal Airport in Boone. Friends and family are invited to attend.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation, the Navy Musicians Association, the Boone Municipal Band or the Mayo Clinic.